Auto Wreck Puts Blood Shortage To Severe Level

The members of Green Acres Baptist Church had a good cause to roll up their sleeves Sunday. Stewart Blood Center called an emergency blood drive to help replenish the critical supply.

One member who couldn't donate was still there to help.

"Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees," Aaron Ortiz says. "Right now, I'm trying to show them the reason why they're giving."

While the donors signed up, Aaron helped them understand the difference their blood can make.

"I was involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, august the sixth of last year," Aaron explains. "I was life-flighted to Mother Frances, where I was the recipient of forty-one units of blood, fighting for my life in a surgical intensive care unit."

Donors today learned that accident victims like Aaron can drain already critical blood supplies. Forty-one units represents a huge amount of blood.

"Basically five people would have had to give their lives for me to be here today," Aaron says. "Forty-one units is just an awesome amount."

"There is no substitute for blood," Barbara Tice of Stewart Blood Center says. "The only place we can get it is from other human beings, because there is no other substitute."

Without donations, Aaron knows he might not have made it. He's making sure there will be enough blood for the next emergency.

Stewart's blood drives will continue this week. They'll be in Kilgore on Tuesday, Jacksonville on Wednesday, and in several locations on Friday. This weekend's emergency drives raised more than 140 units of blood, but they say they still need more to get back to a safe level.

Reid Kerr ( reporting.