Critical Blood Shortage Leaves West Texas Near Empty

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

They're calling it a "critical" shortage. The United Blood Services of the Permian Basin is reporting a serious need for blood donations.

United Blood Services serves the entire Permian Basin. Over the past few days, they've gone from an "urgent" need of O negative blood to "critical," but here's why it's such a problem: O negative is the universal blood type and anyone can accept it so when there's an accident or emergency, the supply drains out fast putting other emergency patients in danger. In fact, that happened Monday - an accident required a unusually large amount of blood and left the bank completely dry.

"A stat call came in for an urgent need for O positive which is the most common type which is lucky," Jennifer Larson, United Blood Services said. "He used everything, he took all our O Positive off the shelves, 60+ units. Tragedies like that are few and far between, so it's fortunate we had the blood on the shelves that they needed today."

United Blood Services tells NewsWest 9, it's a minute by minute crunch, and even one accident or disaster can drain the supply and that's why they work closely with our neighboring regions. But right now, just about everyone is desperate need of blood donations- especially O negative. The workers say it may have to do with summer traveling or an increase in emergencies needing large amounts of blood. Right now, they're asking for donations particularly O negative.