News24

Blood shortage leads to surgery downtime

2011-07-08 22:14

Johannesburg - Hospitals have been asked to put elective surgeries on hold due to low blood stock levels, the SA National Blood Service (SANBS) said on Friday.

Spokesperson Vanessa Raju said blood collections were beneath the required five day stock they needed to ensure that the country's demand for safe blood was met.

Raju said the SANBS sent out a message to all hospitals and medical personnel to stop elective surgeries as it was not able to meet the emergency demand for blood, let alone planned surgeries.

Raju said the blood service had to cut back on supply. As an example she said, in a case where a hospital needed four units, they would only send two.

The blood is being distributed strictly to severe cases where a patient's life is at stake.

She said the winter season, school holidays and the flu virus had contributed to the shortages.

The SANBS was low on all blood types and was not reaching the targeted 3 000 units per day, instead, it was collecting less than 1 000 a day.

Bara cuts down

The Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital's blood services said they had three patients waiting for blood.

Barry Van Niekerk of blood services at the Chris-Hani Baragwanath Hospital said it had no units in the fridge on Friday.

The shortage had affected them for the past three days and they have had to cut down on units given to patients.

The Steve Biko Academic hospital said it was not affected by the shortage.

"We received all the units we needed this morning and no surgeries had to be cancelled either," said spokesperson Freda Kobo on Friday.

Netcare group spokesperson Martina Nicholson said it kept emergency blood at all of its emergency departments for critically ill patients.

"In the past and during times of blood shortages there have been instances throughout the country where a limited supply has impacted patient care but the group had not cancelled any surgeries due to the recent shortage," said Nicholson.

SANBS urged people to donate blood on Nelson Mandela Day which is on July 18 in line with the theme "take action, inspire change".

Comments
  • Nongoloza - 2011-07-08 22:45

    I stopped giving blood in 2002 when i was told by a hospital manager in a state hospital that blacks were given preference in their hospitals over whites when it came to deciding who was in most dire need of blood. Basically, if a white person and a black person were both in the same emergency and needed a transfusion a black was given the green light. Thats not the worst part, read on........ Up until a few years ago SANBS classified blacks as too high risk for the donation of blood due to the prevelance of AIDS and destroyed 7 in 10 of all blood specimens donated by blacks. This meant that for every 10 blood specimens donated 8, yes 8, were donated by whites and only 3 by blacks, this even though blacks outnumber whites 9 to 1. And we still get passed over when we need it most? You must be bl00dy joking!!!!!! Never ever again.

      Laurence Sher - 2011-07-08 23:00

      Go donate and stop whining :-) . I mean if you ever need blood are you going to say No, never ?

      Nongoloza - 2011-07-08 23:02

      "This meant that for every 10 blood specimens donated 7, yes 7, were donated by whites and only 3 by blacks"

      Nongoloza - 2011-07-08 23:13

      I just feel that if its being dished out on the basis of colour then why should i bother, knowing that i will be the 2nd choice? Im tired of being taken for a ride by black south africans and their leaders.

      Joe_Massahar - 2011-07-09 01:28

      In 2005 after the SANBS lost my records - which I thought was a bit worrying. If they can't even kep records of donors then how can I trust them to do anything? The last time I donated the nurse was so busy chatting that I overfilled the bag. When she realised she squeezed some blood back into my arm. Man, what a headrush!! I was later told by a doctor that by doing this she could have caused huge issues. That was that - I never donated again!

      Dundermoose - 2011-07-09 01:31

      I used to donate to the Natal Blood Service. But one it became the SANBS it became a bit of a circus. Anyway, my wife and I are both type-O (universal donors), so we can donate to eachother if need be.

      Azizi - 2011-07-09 15:24

      what they are saying there is enough black blood but very little white blood. The blood is different colours have you not noticed?

  • Nongoloza - 2011-07-08 22:58

    I stopped giving blood in 2002 when i was told by a hospital manager in a state hospital that blacks were given preference in their hospitals over whites when it came to deciding who was in most dire need of blood. Basically, if a white person and a black person were both in the same emergency and needed a transfusion a black was given the green light. Thats not the worst part, read on........ Up until a few years ago SANBS classified blacks as too high risk for the donation of blood due to the prevelance of AIDS and destroyed 7 in 10 of all blood specimens donated by blacks. This meant that for every 10 blood specimens donated 8, yes 8, were donated by whites and only 3 by blacks, this even though blacks outnumber whites 9 to 1. And we still get passed over when we need it most? You must be bl00dy joking!!!!!! Never ever again.

      Dogmatic - 2011-07-09 04:12

      I am a doctor in a mother and child hospital and that is utter rubbish. I give blood to women every day and if the pink or purple they get blood if they need it. Yes doctors know about bloodless surgery, but even Jehova's wittnesses occasionally take blood in the surgery I perform. On a good day a Hysterectomy patient will loose 300ml, not always the case and they don't all start out at very good levels. Please be careful saying s*** when you do not know facts. so what????????

      Janine - 2011-07-09 10:24

      What a selfish attitude. If you needed blood I bet you wouldn't care what colour the donor was.

      So What? - 2011-07-09 14:15

      Mmmm, how much of the 300 ml is actually red blood cells? Research has shown that the fluid from a hysterectomy, when removed, and stored in a suction chamber, and then compared to venous blood from the same patient the hematocrit in the suction chamber was far lower than that in the venous blood. In the range of 19 (Chamber) to 32 (Venous blood) with a deviation of about 7%. What was also found that as the length of the surgery continued, so the volume increased in the chamber but the amount of hematocrit did not. According to a Nobel Prize recipient, Dr Charles Higgins, ‘blood is the most dangerous substance we use in medicine’. The Journal of the Society of Anaesthesiologists reported that “transfusion was still associated with higher mortality.’ The British Journal of Surgery reported that ‘blood transfusion has often been shown to reduce cancer survival.’

      So What? - 2011-07-09 14:16

      Often simple volume expanders are all that is required in surgery and after trauma, simple products such as saline solution, hypertonic solution, Ringer’s, and hydroxyethyl starch. Drugs such as recombinant erythropoietin as well as other hemapoietic drugs are far safer than blood. Cell salvage can be used and the patient’s own blood recovered during surgery and then infused back into the patient. If it was not so good why are more and more hospitals becoming loath to use blood and even the US military is training for bloodless surgery? Why do so many surgeons remark that their patients who did NOT receive any blood during or before surgery recovered so much quicker and that the procedures were generally cheaper as well? So much for talking s***.

  • So What? - 2011-07-08 23:16

    Why do the hospitals not apply conservative surgery as they do with Jehovah's Witnesses? There no blood is used, but rather other methods to reduce blood loss, cell salvage and drugs to raise blood levels, etc. Just Google 'Bloodless surgery" and see the benefits. Maybe the skill involved are just too much for our doctors, or there is profit n blood.

  • mjomane - 2011-07-08 23:31

    damn vampires!! they are stealing blood again.

      Kate Francis - 2011-07-09 10:09

      Hahahaha love it, National Crisis and Vampires still come up.

  • Vlooi - 2011-07-09 01:55

    In 2004 the government made it a race issue, some friends and me then stopped donating blood - http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Manto-Blood-service-racist-20041202 . Obviously we made a difference, watch this space, there are a few other areas we are making a difference as well.

  • Marcell - 2011-07-09 02:24

    Every one of our family members stop donating blood. We will only donate for each other. Why should my blood be used to keep criminals alive? I know innocent people are also suffering. But sorry, life is tough!

  • markings - 2011-07-09 03:48

    There are some bad arguments here for not giving blood. One donates blood because one wants to donate. That is the only consideration one should have. Who gets it is not your decision and whoever makes that decision has to take responsibility for and incur its karma (unlike the decision not go give blood at all). Not donate blood because of who might get it is just mean-spirited. It doesn't cost you anything except 20 minutes of your time. BTW, blood from HIV infected persons can be processed into blood plasma, not quite as useful as fresh blood, but still life saving in many cases.

      Kate Francis - 2011-07-09 10:13

      I don't know if I agree with that. I'd much rather see my blood go to a child than to a rapist.

  • Jeffery - 2011-07-09 07:31

    Id never gave blood I did consider but after hearing some tings here I will never give blood.

  • Erick - 2011-07-09 08:44

    solution: www.blood4life.co.za

  • darkwing - 2011-07-09 08:48

    Maybe if you stopped discriminating against gay men's blood things would be better.

  • Kate Francis - 2011-07-09 10:11

    I went to donate blood years ago and was told that they wouldn't take my blood as I'd been living in London during the time of Mad Cow. So now what, do they want my blood or not? I can make more....I'll donate.

  • Muffin man - 2011-07-09 12:17

    They call us thieves, tax us to death, kill our farmers, steal, rape and plunder and we are the ones keeping THEM alive with OUR blood! I`m sorry but NOT A DROP of blood from me.

  • Horst - 2011-07-09 16:53

    Simple solution! Pay for the stuff.

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