Critical Need For O-Negative Blood, Impacts Local Hospitals 1/25/13
CBS 7 News
January 25, 2013
ODESSA- United Blood Services announced a critical need for O-negative blood, and it’s impacting patients both young and old at hospitals across the basin.
“The shelves are bare,” said Lee Hartmann, the Center Director for United Blood Services. “There are a number of calls I get from hospitals where they ask for 20 units of O-negative blood and we can only provide one unit. That means there’s someone at the other end waiting for those units.”
It’s the loved one being rushed to the emergency room, a new and fragile life awaiting a transfusion or a lifesaving cardiac surgery.
“Here at ORMC, we had a large increase of cardiac surgery and that leads to an increase need of blood,” said Chief Nursing Officer at Odessa Regional Medical Center Levi Stone. “And the NICU has exponentially increased over the past three years-- tapping into the demand of blood.”
If the cardiac surgery is not an emergency, Stone said doctors have the ability to determine the patient’s blood type.
But neonatal babies often lack the necessary antibodies to determine their blood type; therefore, O-negative blood is the only blood type these babies can safely receive.
“We have a supply on hand that currently can handle the demand,” said Stone. “But we are one emergency away from seeing a critical demand like we’re seeing across the nation.”
The reason for the blood shortage? Donors catching the flu and canceling appointments, and the overall demand of the growing population.
Since December, Hartmann said hospitals across West Texas called the United Blood Service in need of more supplies.
“We got hospitals geared towards taking care of babies,” said Hartmann. “We had one hospital call in need of 11 transfusions for babies, but there are others in need like cancer patients and those awaiting surgery.”
To donate O-negative blood, or any type of blood, Hartmann said to log onto their website at unitedbloodservies.org
to find a location or make an appointment.