Patients need you to give blood - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Patients need you to give blood

December 18, 2003

Albany - A major blood shortage in Georgia. South Georgia Community Blood Center hospital services technician, Dian Swafford, says, "Eventually the hospital inventory gets down to nothing and it's a very critical situation."Our regional blood center has less than a half a day supply of O-negative and O-positive.

Hospitals are in desperate need for blood donors, especially O-negative and O-positive blood types. Blood helps those who are sick, accident victims and surgery patients, but what happens if there's not enough blood to go around?

If you were rushed into surgery right now, the last thing on your mind is whether doctors have enough blood units to keep you alive.

While sitting in Phoebe Putney's waiting room, Anthony Moreschi says to his wife, Tricia, "It's scary when you think about all the bad things that could happen."Their 15-year-old son, Alex, is in surgery. His dad explains, "My son's having abdominal surgery."

This is the Worth County teenager's second surgery in eight days. His mom adds, "He could need a transfusion. Anybody who goes into surgery. There's always that possibility. With shortages as low as they are right now, there's always that concern."

The shelves are bare at the South Georgia Community Blood Center. They have sent all their O-negative and O-positive units to hospitals. That's only 27 units to split between nine hospitals. Mrs. Moreschi wonders, "Is it going to be available for my child?"

While we were in the waiting room, the doctor came out to tell the Moreschi's the news. Alex had a complex case of hernia, but he's expected to fully recover. Luckily, he didn't need a blood transfusion, but the next patient wheeled down the hallway may need your help.

If you can't give blood, Mrs. Moreschi suggests to round up friends who can give blood and take them the blood center.

Blood donations are usually short around the holidays, but even more so now because of illnesses.

In order to give blood, you cannot show any signs of a cold. South Georgia Community Blood Center workers say colds and the flu have taken a toll on blood donations.

If you're taking antibiotics, you have to wait three days after you finish medications. Swafford says. "Because the flu is becoming widespread it has affected the number of donations. In turn, that effects the number of units available to send to the hospitals."

To be a blood donor:

  • You must be at least 17-years-old.
  • You must weight at least 110 pounds.
  • If you have had a tattoo in the past year, you can not give blood.
  • If you have lived in Europe for more than three months since 1980 you can not give blood.

To find a place to give blood, call the American Red Cross at 1-800-GIVE LIFE.

posted at 5:30PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com

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