TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Carter BloodCare is used to seeing a dip in donations during the summer months, but the latest shortage has the organization operating in “crisis mode”, according to the director of operations over East Texas.
Donations typically slump during the summer months as families go on vacation. However, Carter BloodCare has seen a significant nationwide slump.
“Centers that we generally could call on as partners of ours to say ‘hey we’re a little low this week, can you send us some blood’ and vice versa, they’re short as well,” said Clinton McCoy, director of operations in East Texas. “It’s a national issue going around with local blood centers not having enough donations to meet their hospital needs.”
Blood donations are an ongoing concern for organizations like Carter BloodCare, McCoy explained, because blood has a shelf-life of 42 days. Anytime there’s a significant dip in donations, not only do blood centers need to fill an immediate need, they’re looking forward to covering the next day’s supply, as well.
According to the center’s website, local blood centers need to see 1,000 donors every day just to meet the needs of the region it serves.
“We gotta get the supplies back up just to meet the daily supply needs of our hospitals and patients in our community,” McCoy added. “But we also need people who can’t make it in response to the appeal to schedule appointments for the next week and the week after that to keep us on a consistent plane.”
The organization has put the hospitals they partner with on alert that blood donation shortage could even impact the procedures patients undergo.
“We will let them k now, send them an email, make a phone call and say we’re seeing a dip in donations, you need to be prepared to either reduce the levels we’re keeping at your hospitals,” McCoy explained. “If it keeps going by, we’re going to have to ask you to try and figure out a way to balance your patient load to meet the blood supply.”
DONOR REQUIREMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
All donors must present a valid photo ID at the time of donation. IDs must be issued by the state, a school or the U.S. government (passport, military ID, green card or work visa).
You must be at least 16 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in "good general health" and have not given blood in the past eight weeks. Sixteen-year-olds must have written parental consent. There is no upper age limit.
Carter BloodCare recommends eating a low-fat meal two to four hours before donating blood. Potential donors should drink a lot of water or juice before and after donating. Please avoid alcoholic beverages 12 hours before and after donating. In addition, if you are donating platelets, do not take aspirin or products containing aspirin for at least 48 hours prior to donation.
For more information on blood donations and drives, visit the Carter BloodCare website.