East Texans find another way to help with Harvey relief by donating blood

A phlebotomist draws blood from a donor at Carter BloodCare in Tyler. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)

The blood shortage in East Texas is no longer at a critical stage, a representative of the blood bank that serves the area said Tuesday.

The “blood crisis has officially ended, due to significant community response,” said Linda Goelzer, director of public relations for the agency that collects blood from donors and distributes it to hospitals in the region. “The blood supply is at preferred levels.”

Late last month, Carter BloodCare said supplies of all blood types were so low that hospitals in Longview and nearby cities were put on notice that some elective surgeries might have to be postponed until levels increased.

The blood center made an appeal for donations. Since then, the number of donors, which traditionally dips in the summer, increased.

This past week Carter BloodCare meet its weekly donor goal.

“Carter BloodCare wants to see at least 1,000 donors a day, in order to maintain preferred levels in the community blood supply, year-round,” Goelzer said in a statement. “This consistency ensures product is available for local hospital patients, and Carter BloodCare has enough product to be prepared in case of an emergency, like the recent El Paso tragedy.”

On Aug. 3, a gunman opened fire at an El Paso retail center, killing 22 people and wounding 24. The tragedy showed the need to have a large supply of blood available. The number of donors in East Texas increased in the days after the shooting, she said.

Donations are needed constantly to maintain blood levels.

“While the crisis has come to an end, a drastic drop in donations could set Carter BloodCare back to below preferred levels. The need for blood is truly ongoing,” she said.

For information on donor eligibility and to make an appointment, call (903) 663-2650 in Longview or toll free (800) 366-2834 or go to carterbloodcare.org .

Donations can be made at Carter’s office at 3080 N. Eastman Road, Suite 112, in Longview. Operating hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays; and 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturdays.