Urgent need for donors of type O-negative blood in the Valley

Friday, June 13, 2014 - 10:03am

There's an urgent need for type O-negative blood donors in the Valley, Na'Tassia Finley takes a closer look at what future patients could be up against if this universal blood type is not replenished in our blood banks.

It's the universal blood type that can be given to any patient, regardless of their blood type, in an emergency situation when time is of the essence, Crystal Olvera, United Blood Services, "In the emergency room when there's trauma doctors can reach for the 0-negative without having to cross match blood types."

The supply here on the shelves at United Blood Services of the Rio Grande Valley is dwindling quickly, Crystal Olvera, "Summer is especially difficult because people are on vacation, school is out and a lot of the blood that we do depend on comes from Valley high schools and its students."

Due to the type O-negative blood shortage, officials are asking for immediate donations by those with type O-negative blood, but of course, all blood types need to be donated regularly as well, Crystal Olvera, "The Valley needs 175 pints of blood a day, it's very important we meet those needs."

In the event that the Valley reaches an extremely dire need for blood, UBS can import it from one of their other UBS centers across Texas, but they prefer Valley blood donations.

Crystal Olvera, "All of the blood that we do collect here at our centers in Harlingen and McAllen goes directly to all 18 hospitals here in the Valley."

Robert Herrera has been donating consistently for ten years now and offers some insight and encouragement for new donors, "It's easy, slight discomfort at the beginning, a very fast process, it does really feel good knowing you've done something positive for the community."

A person can give blood every eight weeks, there are a few requirements, a donor must be 16 years of age with parental consent and weighing at least 110 pounds. A basic screening will also be conducted to check overall health before a person is cleared to donate.

On average every two to three seconds, across the United States, a person needs donor blood.

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