It says there’s a great need for for platelets.
Frederick, Md (KM). The Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Blood Services Region of the Red Cross wants more people to roll up their sleeves. It says there’s not only an urgent need for whole blood, but platelets. “Platelets, they are clotting mechanism. Cancer patients use those quite frequently. It enables their blood to clot. Without that clotting mechanism, a patient could potentially bleed out, and that’s a potentially dangerous situation,” says spokeswoman Regina Boothe Bratton.
She says donated platelets help return the natural platelets in the body that are often lost due to treatments such as transfusions.
But the supply of platelets in the region is very low, says Bratton. “Platelets have a shelf life of about five days. As soon as we get them in and get them tested, they are shipped out. And we do not have enough on hand to be quite honest with you because they’re used so frequently,” she says.
That shortage in platelets means certain procedures are canceled. “We have orders that are on hold. We’re waiting to get those platelets in of all blood types, but particularly type O,” says Bratton.
She also says a family in Frederick is affected by the shortage in platelets. Bratton said it’s a single mother with a daughter whose a cancer patient and the girl is in need of platelets. “I got wind of her story. She reached out to us via Facebook. And she told me that there have been times when the transfusions have been put on hold or postponed due to the lack of platelets on hand,” she says. Bratton did not identify the woman.
Anyone who wants to help out by giving platelets or whole blood should call the Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS, or go on line to RedCrossBlood.org, and make an appointment.
“You have no idea how many cancer patients, how many patients–period– are in your area. It’s just really alarming when you look at the numbers, and they’re growing every day. So we desperately need people partner with us and roll up their sleeves,:” she says.
By Kevin McManus