While many of us hope to never end up there, the emergency room at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest is open 24/7 to anyone who needs it.
"You never know what you're going to get," said Dr. Shannon Essler, who works in the ER. "We're here to take care of anybody who walks in, anyone who arrives by ambulance. It can be fast-paced, it can be slow-paced, it can be Christmas or it can be Monday."
Essler said they see everything from the sniffles to people seriously injured in car accidents.
Recently, Essler saw someone who was hit by a car. She said they were given several units of blood to keep them alive.
"When you see blood coming out from the patient everywhere, you just have to replenish it as much as you can," Essler said. "Honestly, the people who need that much blood, it's hard to keep count because it just keeps coming from the blood bank."
Kathy Patterson is the blood bank supervisor at Hillcrest.
She said they sent about 4,500 units of blood throughout the hospital in 2018. More than 500 of those units went to the ER.
"A day, we have about 100 units or more," Patterson said. "We give 10 to 12 units, on average."
But Patterson said that changes the moment someone arrives in the ER with serious injuries.
"We do have times where we do massive transfusions," Patterson said. "The traumas come in and they'll use quite a bit at one time. I think our top was 90 at one point."
Essler said they must remain calm and collected while working in the ER to get patients safely to the operating room.
A single blood donation is critical to their success.
"We're here to take care of patients and we're here to take care of them to the best of our ability," Essler said. "We use all the resources that we have, including donated blood. It's much appreciated and it helps us do our job."
The Providence Healthcare blood bank carries anywhere from 150 to 180 units a day.
Dr. Brent Bauer is the orthopedic trauma medical director at Providence. He said the hospital goes through about 300 units of blood each month. About 75 of those units go to the emergency room.
He said many trauma patients end up needing even more once they're moved to a different spot in the hospital for further treatment.
"Critically injured patients with active bleeding, blood transfusion is one of the very important requirements that is started in the emergency room and then as patients go to the operating room to stop the bleeding, they have significant ongoing requirements for blood," Bauer said.
Carter Bloodcare is the sole provider of blood for Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest.
Central Texas News Now will host a blood drive with Carter Bloodcare on Jan. 31 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Donors will receive a Dallas Mavericks shirt and a BOGO ticket voucher.
For more information on Carter Bloodcare, click here.
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