Alert: Emergency Blood Shortage, Donors Critically Needed

June 21, 2021 ─ A nationwide blood shortage has reached Texas, as blood donations have reached emergency low levels. The shortage has been worsened by consistently high hospital usage, leaving blood centers around the nation short of all blood types heading into the upcoming July 4th holiday period. 

The local blood supply is currently at a 1-2 day supply, well below the usual 4-5 day threshold Texas Blood Institute feels secure having on hand. 

“In the past month, we’ve seen a dramatic drop in blood donations, an alarming development when we were already facing chronic shortfalls,” said Dr. John Armitage, president and CEO of Texas Blood Institute. “The public is rightly enjoying the reawakening of social freedoms and a return to normalcy, but if celebrating this rebirth by giving blood does not immediately become a major part of people’s reopening activities, we are going to run out of blood for patients. Harm may well result for many of the sickest folks in our communities.” 

The critically low blood supply is more dangerous than it has ever been because nationwide shortages have dried up the emergency safety net usually provided by sharing of units between blood centers. Blood has no substitute, and patients across the state rely on blood products every day to fight cancer, survive trauma and heal after childbirth.

“If Texans don’t hear the call and regain their pre-pandemic levels of generosity, we’re facing serious damage to the transfusion care that our hospital partners normally provide,” Armitage said. “We keep thinking that COVID-related problems can’t get worse, but we now have the worst stock levels I have seen in my 26 years of blood banking. We need the Texas Standard to gear up into overdrive to carry us out of the sputtering pattern of repeated crises that is starting to emerge post-COVID. We’re pleading with our past, present and future donors to help now.”

Center hours have been extended, due to the severity of the situation. Donor centers will be open June 22-28 as follows: Monday-Friday, 7:30 am – 6 pm; Saturday, 7:30 am – 4pm; Sunday 7:30 am – 2pm. 

Texas Blood Institute encourages all individuals, age 16 and older, to donate blood as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment to give blood, call 1-877-340-8777, visit our donor center in Wichita Falls at 3709 Gregory Street, or find a blood drive near you.

Volunteer donors with Texas Blood Institute exclusively provide every drop of blood needed for patients in all major hospitals in the Texoma region. One donation saves up to three lives. Patients rely on blood to survive an emergency injury or illness, or for ongoing treatment for cancer and other life-threatening diseases and conditions.

*16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission; 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds. Photo ID required.

Bob Grant