Blood donations collected by the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center are lower this year compared to 2017. Officials with the Center said a decrease in donors is resulting in a decreased blood supply.
The center seeks donors to keep up with the demand for patients in critical need of blood transfusions. Students attending high schools and colleges are the biggest percentage of people who donate in South Texas, equaling 20 percent of all donors.
Those donations are down, said Roger Ruiz, a corporate communications specialist for The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center.
“With students on summer break, we don’t have those steady numbers of donations coming in,” Ruiz said. “A lot of the time our donors are on vacations and we don’t have them coming in as well.”
Ruiz attributed both of those things to this year’s blood donation decline.
“It’s very concerning when we run low,” Ruiz said.
The Center, he said, continues to get the word out to increase donations. The effort to keep up with the demand is especially crucial leading up to the holidays. The population growth has prompted an increase in trauma patients this year alone. The City of San Antonio continues to grow with an increase of people every year, increasing demand.
The majority of O-Positive blood goes on to help to treat cancer patients, trauma patients, and premature babies. O-Negative is the universal blood type and used in traumas.
“It’s crucial to have a stable blood supply,” Ruiz said.
While students make the majority of donors, student groups with Texas A&M University-San Antonio take an active approach to meet blood supply demands.
Texas A&M-San Antonio partners with STBTC to organize six blood drives each semester. The university’s Student Activities and the Pre-Health Society organization work collaboratively to organize campus blood drives.
Students offered three blood drives this term already, which brought the opportunity for students to donate blood. Student Activities and the Pre-Health Society encouraged students to donate by having three informative Blood Drive Sign-Up Table on Sept 5-7, the weekend before the actual blood drives which were on Sept 10-12.
Jarrick Brown, Students Activities coordinator, said this was his first time organizing with The Pre-Health Society and that he was pleased with the results.
But not everyone was aware of the blood donation efforts. Students either said they weren’t aware of the blood drive or weren’t able to make the times listed.
Meghan Gonzales, accounting junior, said the last time she donated blood was back in high school. She said she was not aware of the blood drive and said, “No, I didn’t know there was one going on.”
But she would have donated, she said, if she’d known more about it.
“I would have made at least an effort to, like, plan ahead and get here earlier or later,” Gonzales said.
A&M students will have three more opportunities to donate blood on November 12-14.