United Blood Services in McAllen is reporting one of the highest blood shortages in several years.
They say only an estimated two percent of valley residents are active blood donors. News Center 23’s Amy Martinez is at the donation center in McAllen with the details.
United Blood Services says blood donations are typically low during the summer months. But this year’s shortage has sparked a nationwide concern.
Frank Esparza Regional Director says, “After Memorial Day our projection accuracy, just dropped and we haven’t been able to recover from that and so has the nation.”
Esparza says the center is currently short of about 500 units of blood. Although all blood types are welcome, they’re seeing a greater need for O Positive and O Negative.
Esparza says, “You can give O Negative to anyone, so should a patient come to the emergency room needing blood immediately, then they take an O Negative off the shelf because it’s compatible with anyone.
Experienced donors have a little message for those who’ve never donated. Cole Nixon, “It doesn’t hurt, it’s not painful, it’s really easy to do. You just sit here and get treated like a king.”
Catalino Alvear, “It’s an hour out of your day to help save lives. If we do it a couple times a year, if everybody can do it a couple times a year, that would save a whole lot of lives.”
Esparza says the shortage is partly due to a 13% increase in demand. “We can’t just order it and it’s here tomorrow. It’s got to come from a volunteer donor. Someone who cares about the community.”
Donating blood only takes no more than 45 minutes out of your day so I decided to overcome my fear of needles to help save a life. If you would like to do the same, United Blood Services will be open from 8 to 4 Friday and Saturday.
For a list of locations and blood drive information you can visit their website at unitedbloodservices.org