Sunday, July 13, 2003

Blood shortage delays some surgeries

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - The Red Cross chapter here is asking area hospitals to postpone elective surgeries because of a blood shortage.

The Louisville agency - which serves portions of Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois - has been able to fill only half of the blood orders it has received since Monday, spokesman Chad Queen said.

By Friday morning, its blood banks had been depleted to a four-hour supply.

In Louisville, Baptist Hospital East put off 26 elective operations on Friday because of the blood shortage.

The blood supply has dipped to as few as 200 pints in the past few days - far below the emergency level of 800 pints, said Kay Gard, hospital services manager for the Louisville Red Cross.

Nationwide, 45,000 pints of blood are available, far less than the 80,000 pints considered to be the emergency level, Gard said. O-negative, considered the universal blood type because it can be given to anyone, constitutes only 6 percent of the available blood supply locally, she said.

Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati are in better shape, with 20 percent below-normal levels of blood. That's better than usual this time of year, said Michael Anderson, public information officer for the Hoxworth Blood Center, which supplies blood to Tristate agencies, including hospitals in Boone, Kenton, Campbell and Grant counties.

With a new donation center in Fort Thomas and another in Fort Mitchell, people have actively been donating this summer.

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