Cancer needs strain blood supply - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cancer needs strain blood supply

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By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

July 25, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is doing what they can despite only receiving one third of the blood supply they need. "This is the worst I have seen it in 15 years of living in South Georgia," said Phoebe Putney Blood Bank Manager, Dian Swafford.

And they are now asking doctors to limit their blood transfusion requests. "We are sort of limiting it to the most needy patients. Those who are in severe straits," said pathologist, Dr. Charles Hawkins.

And sometimes that isn't enough. "I either had to put their orders on hold or give them less than they thought was optimal for their patient," said Swafford.

Transfusions are provided to a variety of patients, but some of the most desperately in need are fighting cancer. "They are people who because of chemotherapy are not able to make enough red blood cells on their own. And they are dependant on people to donate so that they can have enough energy to move about and do their daily activities," said Swafford.

There are usually less donors in the summer months because school is out, and families are away on vacations. But because the regions supply is so low, the plea has gone statewide. 

"Every two seconds somebody needs blood and that is not somebody somewhere else. That is somebody right here," said American Red Cross Recruiter Representative, Andrea Tatum. "It is your responsibility to give blood because you are in the community. And the blood you donate goes right back to our hospitals."

"We have to get more donors in. That is the only way to get out of the situation," said Swafford. And the next person that may need a blood transfusion to save their life may be you or your loved ones.

Donating blood is about a 40 minute process. Anyone over the age of 17 and weighs at least 110 pounds is eligible to donate blood.

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