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Critical blood shortage impacts local, national blood banks

Blood providers nationwide have less than a two-day supply of necessary blood types on-hand. Donors are strongly encouraged to give blood as soon as possible.
Credit: Sandy Rojas

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Vitalant, formerly United Blood Services, has declared a critical shortage of blood as blood providers nationwide have less than a two-day supply of necessary blood types.

For Vitalant, the busy holiday season resulted in more than 21,000 fewer donations than expected.

Because of the critical shortage, donors are strongly encouraged to give blood as soon as possible by calling 877-258-4825 or by going online to bloodhero.com.

“We strive to maintain a four-day supply of blood just to provide what patients need, and currently we’re at less than half that for certain blood types,” Dr. Ralph Vassallo, Vitalant Chief Medical Officer, said. “Blood on the shelf helps patients every day - for traumas, cancer treatments and critical transfusions -and enables us to be ready if disaster strikes.”

Currently, all blood types and components are in short supply, with a special need for platelets and type O blood donations.

Platelets have a very short shelf life of only five days. Type O-negative blood is the universal blood type that can help stabilize all patients.

Nationally, Vitalant needs to collect more than 35,000 blood products per week to meet patient needs.

In the West Texas regions, there is a need to collect close to 200 blood products per day to meet local patient needs.

Every two seconds, someone needs blood. And even with new donations coming in daily, the demand can quickly outpace supply. Patients depend on the ongoing generosity of volunteer blood donors for the blood transfusions they need.

Who’s at risk? Everyone from accident victims to newborns to seniors who may need:

  • Red blood cells for trauma, surgery, emergencies
  • Platelets and red blood cells to fight chronic disease – patients with cancer, hemophilia and sickle cell disease
  • Plasma to stop the bleeding – burn patients and those with clotting disorders

Vitalant Donation Center - 2020 W. Beauregard  San Angelo, 325-223-7500

Hours: Noon-6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays

8 a.m.-1:30 p.m Wednesdays, Fridays

9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturdays

Twice monthly Sundays

Mobile blood drives this week:

Wednesday

Noon-5 p.m. - Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, original H-E-B parking lot, 3301 Sherwood Way

RELATED: Vitalant plans National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day Blood Drive

Saturday

9 a.m.-noon - Tru Fit Athletic Club "Pint for a Pint" blood drive, 4110 Sunset Drive. Donors will receive a coupon for pint of ice cream, courtesy of Baskin Robbins, a Chick-fil-A coupon and T-shirt.