Wednesday, February 21, 2001

Hoxworth makes emergency appeal

Blood supplies 700 units below norm

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Blood supplies are running low in Greater Cincinnati.

        Citing a spike in demand and a slowdown in blood donations, the Hoxworth Blood Center on Tuesday declared its first emergency blood donor appeal since September 1999.

        That means Hoxworth's seven neighborhood donor centers will be open extended hours through Saturday. If the shortage cannot be reversed, the next step would be to ask hospitals to delay elective surgeries, said spokeswoman Meg Wilkens.

        The shortfall was caused by two factors:

        • The same winter illnesses that have caused schools to close and hospitals to divert ambulances have also slowed blood donations. Many people do not realize that if they are taking antibiotics, they cannot give blood, Ms. Wilkens said.

        • A few patients have used quite a bit of blood. Last week alone, two liver transplants and one heart surgery combined to use more than 550 units of blood products. Hoxworth likes it when families coordinate replacement blood drives, but such efforts are not expected or heavily promoted.

        Overall, the blood bank's inventory is running about 700 units below ideal levels, and Hoxworth has not been able to buy enough blood from other cities to keep up, Ms. Wilkens said.

        The biggest need is for type O blood, down more than 400 units. But Hoxworth also is running low on types A and B, Ms. Wilkens said.

        The blood bank wants more help from people who have not donated blood before or who have not donated in several years.

        Frequent donors should not cancel regularly scheduled appointments, though, because that can lead to shortages later, Ms. Wilkens said.

       For information about blood donation, call 513-451-0910.


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