Critical shortage of O negative blood in Austin

The Blood Center of Central Texas said there is a critical need for O negative donors right now. They are 60 percent below their comfort level.

The last couple weeks have been very busy for Austin’s first responders and that means the blood center has had their hands full supplying blood to those in need.

“O neg is our universal donor, so what that means is that anyone can receive O neg blood. So in traumatic situations, or in situations of emergency at an ER, or when they don't have time to type the patient that is in need, they can give them O neg blood,” said Andrea Lloyd with the Blood Center of Central Texas.   

After all the lives they've saved, the blood center is running out of the universal blood type.

“We are in a critical shortage of O neg blood. So what that means is we need more O neg donors to come in and we need them to come in now,” said Lloyd. 

The blood center likes to have about three days worth of O negative blood available, but right now they have less than a day and a half and the demand is about to grow.

“Right now we've got an influx of people coming in due to SXSW and we're only going to see more people coming in as SXSW continues, so that influx of people can cause an increase of need, unfortunately, due to car accidents,” Lloyd said.

Donors said taking just a little time to give blood goes a long way for the recipient and the donor.

“I think it's really awesome. I mean, I've been going every eight weeks since I was 17. I've donated a couple gallons by now, so I don't even know how many lives I've helped. So just knowing that is pretty cool for me,” said Allison Wojtowecz.

“You look for things that you can do for others and this was something I can do,” said Dwayne Whitmarsh who has been coming to the Blood Center of Central Texas for 10 years.

Although the Blood Center of Central Texas does share resources with San Antonio and Dallas during disaster events, they are also using more blood here at home.
               
“We have more people coming into Austin. We have more people moving to Austin, so we have seen an increased need,” Lloyd said

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