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Wear the Gown: Why blood donors are needed after the holidays

The whole process of donating blood typically takes less than 30 minutes.

SAN ANTONIO — For the past several years KENS5 and University Health System has brought you the series called “Real Men Wear Gowns,” focusing on men’s health issues. But we felt the time had come to open up the segment to include women and children. So each Wednesday we will now bring you what we are calling “Wear The Gown.” In our first segment of the year, we focus on the importance of donating blood after the holidays.

"When we are coming off the holidays, typically our blood supply is a little bit depleted, people are traveling, people are doing all the things they do naturally for the holidays,” said Stephanie Whitehead, the Executive Director of Pathology Services at University Health System. She says University Hospital constantly needs donors.

"We transferred over 25,000 units of blood in 2018. We transfer about 1,400 units of blood a month, so we really work hard to support the community and collect as much as we can on our own," Whitehead said.

"I started off when I was in the military, and I started donations they are because I was in a lab and I realized how important it was,” said Kimberley Martinez who has been donating all of her adult life. She also told us, "As I learned about the need I realized they were cancer patients that need it, burn patients that needed blood and blood products, accidents, organ transplants."

Martinez even had a relative whose life was saved by donations given right here. She said, "My daughter-in-law was in a car accident and was air-vacced to UHS, and UHS saved her life."

The whole process of donating blood from the minute you walk in the door, get screened, give your blood, and walk out, typically takes less than 30 minutes. "It is virtually pain-free. The experts here at the Donor Center draw thousands of units and they make it almost painless,” said Martinez.

For more information about donating blood, incentives offered, and University Hospital blood drives check out their website here: www.universityhealthsystem.com/services/blood-donor/whole-blood-and-platelet-donations

You can also call 210 358-2812.

For more information about family health call 210-358-3045. You can also find the rest of our Wear The Gown stories, just go to WearTheGown.com.