Hot weather draining blood supplies
POSTED: Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 1:34pm
UPDATED: Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 1:35pm
TYLER/ LONGVIEW — Carter BloodCare in Tyler says this the worst summer they have had for donations in a while.
When the temperatures get to 100, they say that is when the problems start in the donation vans.
They have trouble getting the vans to cool to a certain temperature to make donors comfortable and safe to draw blood.
When that happens, they have to shut down operations until it gets cool enough, and that is when they have trouble with donors staying and waiting.
More coming soon.
Forty-day, 100-plus-degree weather is severely affecting Carter BloodCare’s ability to maintain a sufficient blood supply in the 57-county area it serves. The need for blood transfusions continues and patients await those treatments daily. The current blood supply is well below preferred levels to support patient needs in the community; due, in part, to the nearly record-breaking stint of consecutive sweltering days.
“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations speak to temperature levels that must be maintained in the environments where we collect blood, including buses, indoor facilities, and also in Carter BloodCare’s 26 donor centers. Individual supplies we use also come with manufacturers’ requirements on what temperature must be maintained while using it,” said Carla Beck, director of operations for Carter BloodCare East Texas.
The heat negatively affects the temperature inside Carter BloodCare’s fleet of busses that sit in the sun for hours during a blood drive, while generators work to maintain a comfortable environment for both donors and equipment. Additionally, at indoor blood drives, companies struggle to maintain a temperature that’s compatible with blood drive regulations as their cooling systems work against triple-digit temperatures. The drives held before noon are more successful than those in the afternoon hours, but seven East Texas blood drives have been stopped early, while others were canceled because the relentless heat made it impossible to maintain regulatory control.
“We’re accustomed to seeing fewer donors during the summer, due to vacations and general business. However, this summer presents additional challenges with record-setting temperatures affecting our operations,” said Bobby Baker, manager of recruitment for Carter BloodCare East Texas.
Without additional volunteer blood donors, the blood supply will not be sustainable if the current weather pattern continues. If you are eligible to give blood, please visit carterbloodcare.org or call 1-800-DONATE-4 to locate the nearest donor center and make an appointment to give blood. All blood types are needed. If you are not eligible to give blood, invite someone you know to do so.
Blood Donation Criteria
Potential blood donors can be 16 years old with a parent’s consent; 17-year-olds may donate independently and there is no upper age limit. All donors must weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good general health and present a photo ID. Ideally, a donor should also eat a good meal and drink plenty of fluids before giving blood. For more information about donor eligibility, call Carter BloodCare at 1-800-DONATE-4 or visit carterbloodcare.org.
About Carter BloodCare
Carter BloodCare’s volunteer donors provide lifesaving blood for patients at over 200 healthcare facilities in 57 counties in North, Central and East Texas. Carter BloodCare is the largest not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) community blood center in Texas and is accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks, licensed by the Food and Drug Administration and is a member of America’s Blood Centers.
From Carter BloodCare