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There is a critical need for blood donations as shortage impacts the nation

In North Texas, the blood shortage is near the point of impacting surgeries at D-FW area hospitals.

BEDFORD, Texas — There is a nationwide blood shortage. In North Texas, the shortage is near the point of impacting surgeries at D-FW area hospitals.

"There is a little bit more trauma because more people are driving, and out and about. And so with more trauma comes the need for more blood products," said Dr. Jay Herd. He's the chief medical officer at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center in Fort Worth. He said the pandemic severely impacted the number of blood donations.

Herd is already taking precautions to make sure his hospital has enough backup blood if needed.

"I sent out an email to all our surgeons asking, if possible, to reschedule elective cases, especially if the elective case is going to need blood products," he said.

Carter BloodCare, one of the state's largest blood centers, is asking the hospitals it works with to evaluate the elective surgery schedules. CEO Dr. Merlyn Sayers said they are not yet asking hospitals to delay elective surgeries; however, it's nearing that point. He hopes more donations will come so it won't reach that level of need.

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At the Carter BloodCare HEB Donor Center in Bedford, Beth Jones sat on the reclined chair as her blood was being drawn. 

"I just know that Carter BloodCare is in crisis right now, and so I'm here to do whatever I can," she said. "It doesn't hurt. It doesn't take very long."

Down the road, Sayers walked through the Carter BloodCare headquarters in Bedford, showing the nearly empty storage refrigerators that should be stocked with blood. "When you look at shelves as barren as ours are, every blood type is needed," he said.

He glanced at a few O-blood bags, followed by more empty shelves. Dr. Sayers said, "Our group O shelves are usually so well-stocked because that is the universal donor blood that can go to any recipients. We are now impoverished."

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He is encouraging people who are eligible to donate to do so, emphasizing there is a critical need. 

"Your one donation can help three different patients, and it's lifesaving."