United Blood Services is experiencing the largest shortage it has seen in a long time and even Lubbock hospitals are having to watch its supply closely.
It was just shortly before 4:00 Tuesday afternoon when NewsChannel 11 paid Covenant a visit to talk about its blood supply. "This shelf right here that you're looking at, that has 15 units on it, had one unit on it about an hour ago," said David Weil, Covenant Vice-President.
Weil says those 14 extra units were shipped over from UBS. A supply that UBS Director Les Long says is dangerously low. "Presently we're in the deepest hole I remember us being in," said Long.
When that happens, University Medical Center and Covenant have to pull together. Over at UMC, Greg Bruce, the Division Director, says they were preparing a box of blood units to be taken over to Covenant. "Right at this moment, we have a sufficient amount of blood at UMC. Of course on trauma or a series of traumas that come into the ER could tax that," says Bruce.
UBS supplies blood units to both Covenant and UMC. Each hospital can use anywhere between 400 to 600 blood units a month. However, when an emergency happens and someone needs a lot of blood, "We can go through 14 to 15 units of blood with patients like that. Per patient. So even though we have a full storage, it can be depleted quickly," said Dr. David Morgan, Covenant Pathology Lab Director.
But it has not gotten to the point where UMC or Covenant are having to delay surgeries. However Covenant is having to ration out its blood units. "We are rationing, that is correct," said Weil.
"We really need the community to rally, not just for the next couple of days, but into next week and through the 4th of July weekend," said Long.
In order to donate, you must weigh 110 pounds or more, be at least 17-years-old, be in good health, and have a valid form of identification.
For more information on how you can donate, you can call UBS at (806) 797-6804.