Blood shortage spikes in summer

A few minutes could give someone a lifetime.

That is the message United Blood Services is eager to get out this summer.

Donations have already started going down, and that worries Karen Prukop, the lab manager for UBS.

"When we don TMt have enough blood here that means that in an emergency we're not going to be able to provide the patient with the blood they need to survive an injury," she said.

That was the case last weekend, after three different shootings broke out in McAllen.

The blood needed for transfusions and to treat the injured comes from their shelves, many of which are now almost empty.

"Historically over many years now, June has been the hardest month for us to collect and process blood," Prukop told Action 4 News.

UBS supplies all 17 hospitals in the Valley with blood donations. At this time they need some 175 donations per day to keep up with the demand. But she added that they are lucky if they reach 100.

They especially need donors with blood type RH negative, O negative and A negative.

It takes a few minutes to extract the blood, and a few more to recover thereafter.

Mike Rice has donated blood often and said he is happy to do his part to help others, "If you got a relative that gets in an accident, everybody needs blood sooner or later."

Donors from all ages can be seed donating, but UBS needs more.

They especially encourage teachers and students to donate now that school is out.

United Blood Services has two locations to in the Valley, one on Sixth Street, just north of Expressway 83, and the second off of Ed Carey Drive in Harlingen.