Dire shortage of blood in the Bay

As cancer sufferers were sent home without blood transfusions and medical personnel were scrambling on Wednesday night to find blood for a woman who had an ectopic pregnancy, Nelson Mandela Bay all but ran out of blood this week.

Blood banks all over the country were running low yesterday with the SA National Blood Service making an urgent appeal for blood donors to go and donate blood.

According to a statement from the National Blood Service, it was estimated that nationally, the remaining blood stock in the country would run out in 1.8 days.

Speaking at the Igazi Foundation’s annual meeting on Wednesday night, Dr Neil Littleton said he had had to send cancer sufferers – scheduled for blood transfusions – home as there was no blood for them.

“They all needed more blood than we could give them. We were giving them the absolute minimum they needed,” he said. “There was no more blood to go around.” He urged everyone to donate blood. National Blood Service medical officer Dr Karen van der Berg said Dora Nginza Hospital had completely run out of Type B blood by Wednesday afternoon.

“If someone else had needed Type B blood we would have had to borrow it from elsewhere,” she said.

“We had one unit of blood to give to a woman who had an ectopic pregnancy.

“If anybody else had needed Type B blood, they would have had to find it at another hospital.”

She said it was hoped the situation would improve significantly when the National Blood Service started its visits to schools again in the week to come.

Volunteers can visit their closest donor centre to donate. There are permanent donor centres at Provincial Hospital in Mount Croix, Cleary Park Shopping Centre and Walker Drive Shopping Centre.

-Estelle Ellis 

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