For immediate release: Feb. 6, 2007

GALVESTON, Texas - The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is again asking community members to donate blood. The UTMB Blood Bank continues to experience shortages, according to Christi G. Hopkins, administrative coordinator for donor services at the blood bank

A cold and rainy January led to supply problems that have only gotten worse.

"Half of our blood that is transfused is imported from other suppliers because we do not have enough volunteer blood donors donating blood," Hopkins said. "They no longer have it to supply."

Recovery from a blood shortage doesn't happen overnight, she said. "It can take months to catch up. The shortage doesn't just go away." She expects the shortage to last through the month.

The blood bank operates from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. The donor room is located on the first floor of John Sealy Annex is Room 1.210.

Donating blood is a simple procedure that can take place in less than an hour. The first step to making a donation is to make an appointment with the blood bank. Upon arrival, you will fill out a donor card. A staff member will meet with you privately to evaluate your medical history, check your pulse, temperature and blood pressure and test your blood to determine eligibility.

Actually donating blood typically takes 7-10 minutes. Donors may read or watch television during the procedure. Only one pint of blood is taken and donors are offered refreshments before they leave.

"It is important to remember that only five percent of the eligible population actually gives blood," Hopkins said. "We need donors to join our Commit for Life program to not only give blood but to commit to giving blood on a regular basis, at least four times a year."

For more information, or to make an appointment, please call the blood bank at (409) 772-4861. The blood bank is on the Web at
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Public Affairs Office
301 University Boulevard, Suite 3.102
Galveston, Texas 77555-0144