Sun, Feb 08, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Group warns of blood shortage

LUNAR NEW YEAR SLUMP Because of the shortage, two patients in critical need of blood at a hospital in Tainan could soon be in a life-threatening situation

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taiwan Blood Services Foundation (TBSF) yesterday called on the public to donate blood at any of its six regional blood centers, all of which are facing acute shortages.

“Right now we have only about three days’ worth of supplies, whereas our safety benchmark is seven to ten days ... This will affect our supplies to hospitals around the country,” TBSF’s Taipei Blood Center shift director Wang Yan-mei (王嬿美) said.

The supply shortage is mostly because of the Lunar New year holiday, when fewer people donated blood, Wang said.

In addition to the shortage, Wang said: “The blood supply demand is higher now than normal: Whereas the Taipei Branch normally supplies about 1,600 [250 cubic centimeter] bags of blood a day to hospitals in the region, the demand in the past week has been more than 2,000 bags per day.”

The Taipei center said on its Web site that the increased demand could be because of a rush at hospitals around the country as they resume surgical work after the holidays.

Because of the shortage, two patients in critical need of large amounts of blood at Tainan’s National Cheng Kung University Hospital could be in life-threatening trouble if the blood does not come in soon, Wang said.

“One of the patients has already received 300 bags of type A blood, while the other one is in critical need of type O blood,” she said.

But since all the foundation’s branches are experiencing blood shortages, it is difficult for other branches to help the Tainan Branch, she said.

The foundation has branches in Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Hualien.

“Stocks of all blood types are currently insufficient,” she said. “We call on everyone to donate a bag of blood and save a life.”

People with colds or taking aspirin, women who are pregnant and people who have had major surgery or gotten tattoos in the past year along with carriers of hepatitis B and C should not donate blood.

There are 55 locations to donate blood. To find one near you, visit blood.org.tw.

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