Urgent call made for donors as blood supply dips, while patient and hospital needs increase in January
The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC), a subsidiary of nonprofit BioBridge Global (BBG), is issuing an appeal for the public to donate blood and for organizations to schedule blood drives to help meet the needs of area patients, which are increasing as the year begins.
The first weeks in January typically have the highest volume of blood use of the year as medical procedures that were put on hold over the holidays are scheduled. The increase in demand is especially challenging because blood donations decline over the holidays and, this year, a number of groups have cancelled January drives that would have helped replenish blood supplies.
“Because many factors are coming into play to impact our blood supply this January, we’re asking the community to step up and ensure that South Texas patients and hospitals have the blood resources they need,” said Dr. Samantha Gomez Ngamsuntikul, STBTC associate medical director. “By volunteering one to two hours of time, we can help make lifesaving blood available for cancer and surgery patients, newborns and their moms, trauma victims and all the other patients who need it,” Ngamsuntikul said.
During National Blood Donor Month in January, STBTC will thank donors with a $10 H-E-B gift card. Donors giving platelets or type O blood will receive a $20 H-E-B gift card, to help replenish these blood supplies. Although people with type O-negative blood make up only seven percent of the population, this blood type represents 12 percent of the blood ordered by hospitals, Gomez Ngamsuntikul said. Type O blood is used in emergencies, and platelets, which have a shelf life of only five days, are used to treat cancer patients as well as to help control bleeding.
To accommodate donors, STBTC has extended its hours of operation. Starting today and through Friday, all donor rooms are open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, they will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
While all blood types are needed, staff will consult with donors to provide information on the type of donation that is most needed by area patients and hospitals. To facilitate the best possible donor experience, donors are urged to schedule an appointment.
STBTC operates seven donor rooms throughout San Antonio, New Braunfels and Victoria. For more information and to schedule a donation, visit SouthTexasBlood.org or call 210-731-5590.
Public drives added to help with blood collection shortage:
Ingram Park Mall – lower level by Dillards – Wed. Jan. 2 – 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Main Event – Westover Hills – Fri. Jan. 4 Noon – 5 p.m.
Donors are reminded that scheduling an appointment by visiting SouthTexasBlood.org or calling 210-731-5590 will help ensure a world-class donor experience.
Anyone wishing to donate blood must present identification. Donors under the age of 16 must have a signed parental consent form and weigh at least 120 pounds. Anyone over the age of 17 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 donor receive a wellness check. Learn more about blood donation at SouthTexasBlood.org.