West Texas experiencing emergency blood shortage

Vitalant Blood Donation is urgently seeking blood donors
Vitalant poster with patient blood needs listed
Vitalant poster with patient blood needs listed(KCBD)
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 4:47 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2022 at 6:56 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A blood shortage emergency has been declared for the entire West Texas region.

Vitalant Blood Donation in Lubbock has seen a 50% drop in their blood supply since the beginning of summer. The average supply has decreased from a four-day supply to a one-day supply. With local stock dwindling, our hospitals are feeling the shortage the most.

Brandon Baker is the Senior Recruitment Manager for Vitalant in Lubbock. He said anyone who is eligible to donate blood should do it immediately.

“Here in West Texas, we use a lot of blood, with Lubbock being kind of like the medical hub of West Texas,” Baker said. “People are coming here for all their various treatments and things like that. We use about 100 units of blood every single day of the year.”

Baker said all of the hospitals are in need of all blood types.

“Oftentimes, in the emergency rooms, people will reach for that O positive, O negative blood type, because it’s the most common blood type and it can be transfused into most people.” Baker said, “However, all blood types are needed, whether you’re A, B, O, whatever it is, we need your blood, because there’s a lot of hospital patients right now that need your blood as well.”

Since blood is only made by humans, donors are the only ones who can save these patients.

“There’s no substitute for a volunteer blood donation, there is no manufactured blood product that can be put into a hospital patient.” Baker said, “So it’s, it’s important that the blood is there when the patients need it.”

Baker said they know and understand finding time to donate can be difficult. Fortunately, Labor Day is around the corner and most eligible donors have the holiday off.

“People are just busy in general, but donating blood or something that is quick, it’s easy, you can get in and out in less than an hour.” Baker said, “In most cases, you can just sit in a nice relaxing recliner while you do it. And it helps save a life. So anytime around a holiday or any day of the week. It’s needed.”

Sandy Johnston has been a Donor Specialist and Technician for almost 11 years. She said you never know when blood is going to be needed.

“Blood is just one of those things; it’s like nobody else, they can’t reproduce it, they can’t get it from anywhere else,” Johnston said. “It has to come from an individual, a person, someone who cares and is willing to make that kind of difference.”

Although not all blood types are used the same way, donated blood will always be put to use.

“Like I was talking with one of the donors earlier today. Her daughter had had leukemia, and so we were talking about how important it was to be able to do what you can do.” Johnston said, “And so for me, whole blood is the best I can do, so I make sure I do it.”

Vitalant Blood Donation in Lubbock is offering prepaid gift cards to anyone who donates blood before Aug. 31. In addition, they will automatically be entered to win one of five, $3,000 prepaid. For more details on how you can donate visit their website here.