Critical patient needs exceed blood donations
South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC) aims to collect 400 donations a day, but the nonprofit community blood center recently has experienced a reduction in collections. To encourage donations, in October all donors will receive a thank-you gift of a free movie ticket to Alamo Drafthouse.
Our population is growing, and our health care systems are serving more patients, donations have declined, especially for the O-negative blood type,” said Elizabeth Waltman, Chief Operating Officer of STBTC. “ There is a type O blood shortage in our region, and the nation, and we’re working to avoid a situation that could force hospitals to postpone some treatments or surgeries.”
O-negative donors make up only 7 percent of the population, but their blood is used most often by hospitals because, in an emergency, it is considered the universal blood type. In addition, the need is especially critical for premature babies, who can receive only type O-negative blood.
“Having an adequate supply of O-negative blood is critical to many patients, but it’s especially important for premature babies who may need transfusions to survive,” said Dr. Samantha Gomez Ngamsuntikul, Associate Medical Director for STBTC.
Donors can find the closest STBTC donor room or mobile drive by visiting SouthTexasBlood.org/FreeMovie or by calling 210-731-5590. Those donating lifesaving blood and platelets should set aside one to two hours of their time, depending on donation type.
Anyone wishing to donate blood must present identification. Sixteen-year-old donors must have a signed parental consent form and weigh at least 120 pounds. Anyone 17 or older may donate and must be in general good health and weigh at least 110 pounds. All donors are encouraged to eat well and adequately hydrate before and after donation. Refreshments and snacks are provided to donors. In addition, all donors receive a wellness check. Learn more about blood donation at SouthTexasBlood.org
In addition to donors, STBTC also is looking for organizations that would like to sponsor blood drives. They can contact the center at 210-731-5590.