Friday, October 17, 2003

Supply of blood at very low level here

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Greater Cincinnati residents have been slow to roll up their sleeves in response to the latest emergency appeal for blood donors.

That has local hospitals increasing efforts to share and conserve blood. The region's blood bank is increasingly concerned about whether elective surgeries need to be canceled - a move that hasn't happened in Cincinnati in decades.

"We've never had to cancel surgeries as far as I can recall. But some communities have," said Dr. Patricia Carey, medical director for the Hoxworth Blood Center. "We have a lot of people coming into our hospitals using a lot of blood. We need the community to respond in kind."

Hoxworth supplies blood to 24 area hospitals. The blood bank's supply of Type O-positive blood - a common type - is down to 125 units. That's less than a one-day supply for a system that tries to maintain a three-day stock.

At University Hospital - the area's only adult trauma center - the normal inventory of more than 70 units of type O blood has dwindled to 30. A single severely injured car wreck victim could use all that blood.

"It's not a crisis yet because we haven't had to cancel surgeries, but we'd like to have more blood," said Dr. Michael Nussbaum, chief of staff at University Hospital.

Just to replace normal use, Hoxworth needs to collect an average of 325 units a day. To correct for a shortfall that exceeds 340 units for all types of blood, the blood bank needs to collect about 425 units a day for the next several days.

But after an emergency donor appeal on Tuesday, Hoxworth collected 195 units on Tuesday and 370 units on Wednesday.

Figures for Thursday were not available.

To compensate, most area hospitals have been shifting blood among them to meet surges in patient demand.

For information on donating blood, call 451-0910.


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