Patient transfusion rates have surged 13% above normal levels, forcing United Blood Services to issue a critical public appeal for blood donors of all types.
This, combined with plummeting donations since the Memorial Day holiday, has created an extra strain on an already lean blood supply.
This morning, reserves of blood were depleted to 42% below required levels, leaving a 1.5-day supply on the shelves.
Since it takes 24 to 36 hours to test and process each donation before it can be released for a patient, blood is being transfused as fast as United Blood Services can provide it to hospitals.
In addition, many hospital orders remain unfilled for Type O blood. In emergency situations when there is no time to determine a patient’s blood type, doctors depend on Type O blood to sustain life until the patient can be stabilized. An ample supply gives transfusion options when shortages of other blood types arise.
Out-of-area resources to meet local patient blood needs have been exhausted since blood centers across the country are still recovering from the decline in donations over the Memorial Day holiday. United Blood Services is the non-profit community blood provider that supplies 100% of the transfusion needs for 19 hospitals in El Paso and Southern New Mexico.
Approximately 200 blood donors are needed every day to meet the transfusion needs of patients in the area hospitals depending upon United Blood Services. To accommodate space for additional donors, United Blood Services has temporarily extended hours and added staff to many locations.