Blood bank has no blood, declares emergency

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Phlebotomist Izzy Hernandez, in proper PPE (gloves, lab coat & mask), interacts with a blood donor Donna Pen at Texoma Regional Blood Center in December of 2020. Pen has donated a total of 17 gallons of blood at TRBC and is a dedicated donor. Pen is donating platelets which can be given every 28 days. Platelet transfusions are used for cancer, trauma, burn and surgery patients to assist with blood clotting and to stop internal and external bleeding. Platelets must be used within five days or they will expire. TRBC needs at least 4 platelet donors a day to meet the demand from local hospitals.

The shelves at Texoma Regional Blood Center are completely empty and as a result, the center has been elevated from critically low on blood supply to declaring a blood emergency.

The blood center is the solitary blood supplier for Texoma Medical Center, Wilson N. Jones Regional Medical Center, Baylor Scott & White Surgical Hospital in Sherman, Bonham TMC and Muenster Memorial Hospitals.

"As of this evening, June 17, 2021, TRBC has NO blood available to re-stock area hospitals," a release issued Friday said. "Currently, the hospitals in Grayson, Fannin, and Cooke Counties do not have enough blood on their shelves to meet the daily needs of the patients being treated. The current blood supply shortage has surpassed any known blood shortage in the area's history."

The blood center is in need of all blood types and the emergency declaration is likely to remain in place for weeks.

"Donor turnout must increase in order to bring the blood supply back up to a safe level. There is no option to import blood products as other centers, nationwide, are experiencing shortages as well," the release continued.

The release also said that in order for the local hospitals to have the blood they need to save local lives every person who is able to give blood in Grayson, Fannin and Cooke  counties should do so immediately.

"We have had to cancel elective surgeries at this point so we can save the blood for emergencies," WNJ Lab Manager Lauren Stowers said they do have a few pints of blood on their shelves, but they are having to share it with others. 

Deferrals or medical conditions should not push people away from at least attempting to donate blood. Guidelines and disqualification information can be found on the Texoma Regional Blood Center’s website: Donation-Info.

Appointment are not required, though the center will make them if the donor wishes.

Blood donations must be made to Texoma Regional Blood Center in order to impact the local supply shortage for the above mentioned hospitals. 

TRBC's mobile unit will be at Supercuts, 2008 North State Highway 121 #200 in Bonham from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. People can also donate at the TRBC's office at 3911 Texoma Pkwy in Sherman from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. As always, those who give blood can get a free t-shirt to show others that they have stepped up to meet an urgent need in the community.