Blood donated by Iowans is being rushed to Texas today following Tuesday’s mass shooting at an elementary school that left at least 19 children and two adults dead. Another 15 children and four adults were wounded.
Danielle West, spokeswoman for the Des Moines-based LifeServe Blood Center, says Iowa is answering Texas’ call for help, even though blood is very scarce here. “We don’t have a ton of inventory on hand,” West says. “We’re not where we want to be but we do have units set aside right now. We’re sending 10 O-negative and 10 O-positive but we also have more set aside throughout the week, so every day, we’re checking in with Texas to see if they need more.”
LifeServe is part of the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps, a coalition of more than 35 blood centers across the U.S. that have committed to collecting extra blood units on a rotating, on-call schedule. The 20 units of Iowa blood being sent to South Texas Blood & Tissue won’t mean any Iowans are denied an important surgery, but it does ratchet up the urgency.
“We absolutely need donors. O-negative and O-positive are always lower than we want them to be, especially when we’re sending more outside of this area,” West says. “This is a way that our community can step up and help our community blood supply but also the Texas area that probably will need more blood products throughout the week.”
An appeal is going out to all Iowans who are left wondering, “What can I do,” following the Texas shootings, as they can make a difference. “I would just encourage people to go to our website, LifeServeBloodCenter.org,” West says, “or give us a call at 800-287-4903 to find a blood drive or donor center near them and get scheduled as soon as they can.”
LifeServe is the sole supplier of blood products to 129 hospitals across Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota.