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Blood Supply Shortage Reported Across the RGV

3 years 2 weeks 1 day ago Friday, July 21 2017 Jul 21, 2017 July 21, 2017 3:17 PM July 21, 2017 in News

MCALLEN – Blood supply across the Rio Grande Valley and the U.S. are currently at dangerously low levels. 

The ratio per blood donor is one pint of blood for three lives saved. Crystal Garcia with United Blood Services said the drought in blood supply is concerning. 

“Right now is a difficult time for us to collect the supply we need for our local hospitals because it is summer and summer is our most difficult time,” she said. “People in the summertime, they go on vacation. So our regular donors are not here locally."

Forty percent of donors tend to be high school students. With schools on summer break, Garcia said blood supply takes a hit

Garcia said, ultimately, the fear of the unknown is why people shy away from donating.

“The fear of not knowing what’s going to happen, the unknown,” she said.  

CHANNEL 5 NEWS decided to go through the step-by-step process.

Filling out paperwork is step one. Donors need to meet certain criteria in order to qualify. 

Potential donors can be turned away for numerous reasons, including low iron levels or traveling to zones where blood infection is a high risk.

Once you’re cleared, the staff will prepare the patient to have their blood drawn.  When the blood is flowing out, patients are encouraged to periodically squeeze a stress ball to help with the flow of blood. Once a pint of blood is filled, the patient is done. Donors are then given snacks and a beverage before being released.

Garcia wants the community to know that donations don’t leave the Valley.

“Anything that we do collect stays in the RGV. We do supply most of our local hospitals and rehab centers,” she said.

We reached out to Dennis Davis with Doctor's Hospital at renaissance. He said doctors have to decide what patients get blood first when blood supply is low. It’s a situation they want to avoid when treating a patient. 

Davis and Garcia are encouraging people in the Valley to help turn around the current low blood supply. 

Link: United Blood Services

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