The empty shelves that hold blood donations reflect the problem. They're empty of most all blood types. The Blood Center East Texas donor recruiter Linda Warner takes the daily inventory. "We are at two days supply for many blood types, but we're on a one day supply for 0 negative, O positive, and B positive."
Warner is putting the serious problem in perspective. She explained, "The average trauma patient when they're brought into the emergency room would be transferred with about 20 units of blood. A one day supply means that we have on our shelf right now probably with 30-50 units, so you can see if you have several trauma patients it would wipe it out."
The shortage is caused by several factors. Large scale drives aren't scheduled this time of year primarily because of vacations and university's out for the summer. Advancements in medical science have increased the number of surgical procedures. And Houston that's traditionally filled short supplies for Blood Center East Texas is experiencing a shortage itself. Warner said, "Transplants are up in Houston. Cancer treatments are up in Houston, so they are no longer in a position to be able to back us up."