San Antonio, Texas, Sept. 13, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, a subsidiary of San Antonio nonprofit BioBridge Global, is helping to launch a first-in-the nation partnership to ensure blood will be available in mass trauma situations and natural disasters.
Blood centers have faced nationwide blood shortages as thousands of blood drives have been cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic, straining the national safety net.
While in the past, blood centers had inventory on hand to quickly share with other communities in a blood emergency, today this backup supply plan is increasingly unstable. As the primary blood supplier for the region, South Texas Blood & Tissue Center collaborated with other blood centers to create the new program to be proactive in emergency planning – both for mass trauma events that require large volumes of blood, and for natural disasters such as hurricanes that can cripple blood collections.
“The blood emergency program is an opportunity to engage socially minded individuals, community leaders and major employers to work with us and ensure blood is available in the case of mass trauma situations – whether that’s a major accident, a mass shooting such as Sutherland Springs, or a natural disaster such as a hurricane or the 2021 Texas ice storm,” said Adrienne Mendoza, Vice President, Blood Operations at the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center.
The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps is made up of blood centers from five states that have committed to collecting extra blood units on a rotating, “on-call” schedule. The extra blood products will be held in reserve for any critical-need scenario.
If no emergency situation arises, the blood products will be returned to South Texas Blood & Tissue Center’s general inventory, to be used for local needs.
“This is the first step in the right direction to being prepared for the unthinkable situation,” said Dr. Donald Jenkins, with UT Health/University Health System Trauma Care. “Being ready with a supply of blood for the communities is a great idea.”
The program includes the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, We Are Blood (serving the Austin area), Carter BloodCare (Dallas), Houchin Community Blood Bank (Southern California), Oklahoma Blood Institute, the Community Blood Center (Wisconsin), and Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank.
The announcement of the partnership came on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
“While it is a solemn occasion, recognizing 20 years since 9/11, it’s probably very appropriate that we have the recognition that we are still in this together,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.
About the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center:
The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC) is a nonprofit community blood center that provides blood, plasma, platelets and other blood components to 100 hospitals in 48 South Texas counties. It is the largest blood supplier in our region. In addition, it recovers and distributes donated human tissue for transplant. STBTC has a 45-year history serving the South Texas community. It is part of the BioBridge Global family of nonprofit organizations, which offers services in regenerative medicine and research including blood banking and resource management; cellular therapy; umbilical cord blood collection and storage; donated human tissue recovery and distribution for transplant; and testing of blood and plasma products to help patients in the United States and worldwide. STBTC has seven donor rooms in South Texas and conducts hundreds of mobile blood drives each year. STBTC is online at SouthTexasBlood.org.
About BioBridge Global:
BioBridge Global (BBG) is a San Antonio, Texas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit regenerative medicine enterprise that offers diverse services through its subsidiaries – the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, QualTex Laboratories, GenCure and The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation. BBG provides products and services in blood resource management, cellular therapy, donated umbilical cord blood and human tissue as well as testing of blood, plasma and tissue products for clients in the United States and worldwide. BBG is committed to saving and enhancing lives through the healing power of human cells and tissue. It enables advances in the field of regenerative medicine by providing access to human cells and tissue, testing services and biomanufacturing and clinical trials support. Learn more at BioBridgeGlobal.org.