TYLER, Texas — Carter BloodCare in East Texas has announced blood collections are so far behind community requirements that it will take 1,500 people every day for a week to reach a safe and sufficient supply of blood for hospitals and local patients.
On Thursday, Carter BloodCare announced it has only seen 50% of those needed, which will not build up the blood supply. If donations continue at this sluggish pace, the blood center will have to continue filling hospital orders on an "as needed" basis only – a safety concern for the community’s healthcare system.
“Blood is the community safety net. It only comes from volunteer donors,” said Dr. Merlyn Sayers, president and CEO of Carter BloodCare. “We do not have enough on our shelves right now for routine hospital orders. Last summer we were able to help our friends in El Paso hospitals needing blood in a crisis. Today, we would not be able to help.”
Blood cannot be stored very long, so blood programs count on donors giving multiple times a year. Only a small percentage of blood donors give more than once in 12 months.
Blood donors may begin to donate at age 16, with a parent’s or guardian’s consent. The forms are on the web site or at any blood donation location. Anyone age 17 and older may give independently.
There are four main blood types:
- A (A+, A-): 34% of people are A+, making it the second most common blood type. A+ platelets are always high in demand for patients undergoing chemotherapy. A- blood is typically transfused quickly because of the community’s need, so it’s constantly in demand. Only one in 16 people have A- blood.
- B (B+, B-): Only one in every 12 people of the population has B+ blood. B+ blood is always in high demand and can help patients with many medical and surgical conditions. B- is only found in one in every 61 people, making it extremely rare. Every two seconds, someone needs blood, so B- is in high demand constantly.
- O (O+, O-): 38% of people are O+, making it the most common blood type. O+ red blood cells can be transfused to any positive blood types, so it’s still one of the most in-demand blood types. The “universal red cell donor,” the O- blood type occurs in one of every 15 people and is the only blood type that is able to give red cells to all other blood types.
- AB (AB+, AB-): Only one in every 29 people in the population have AB+ blood. AB+ is the universal recipient and the universal plasma donor, making it a very important blood type. AB- only found in one of every 167 people, making it the rarest blood type. AB- patients can receive red blood cells from all negative blood types.
Blood type is determined by the presence or absence of certain antigens on the surface of red blood cells, according to Carter BloodCare. Individuals are also typed as either Rh+ or Rh- depending on the presence or absence of the most important red cell anitgen in the Rh blood group.
All donors must present a valid photo ID at the time of donation. IDs must be issued by the state, a school or via 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 and be in "good general health." 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.
You are also asked to refrain from strenuous activity for 12 hours after donating.
Walk-ins are welcomed. You may also text or call 800-366-2834 for an appointment. For more information, visit Carter BloodCare's FAQs section on their website.