Blood shortage causes surgery delays at Texas hospitals

Texas hospitals are feeling the effects of the national blood shortage.

South Texas Blood and Tissue Center in San Antonio reported several incidences of hospitals delaying surgeries due to a low blood supply, according to KSAT.

One postponed surgery was for a young man with leukemia. He had to wait a few hours before the hospital could secure enough blood for his scheduled blood transfusion. The hospital was not specified in the report.

Julie Versa, a spokesperson for South Texas Blood and Tissue Center, said the new Zika blood donation guidelines are contributing to the shortage. The policy prevents anyone who's traveled to an area affected by the virus to wait 28 days before donating.

"We instituted those FDA guidelines in March and up to this point, [there have been] nearly 1,000 donors we've had to turn away," said Ms. Vera.

University Health System, also in San Antonio, hasn't been forced to delay any surgeries yet. However, it's facing a shortage of Type O-negative blood, the universal donor, so delays loom.

If the health system doesn't get enough donations in the near future, elective surgeries like planned C-sections or gall bladder removals could be postponed, said Leslie Greebon, MD, University Health System's Interim director of Medical Transfusion Services.

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