Blood Shortage Forces Cancellation of Surgeries - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

01/06/03 - Tyler

Blood Shortage Forces Cancellation of Surgeries

It's a very bad situation that has put healing on hold-- at least for three patients at East Texas Medical Center. Their cardiac surgeries will have to wait until there's enough blood.

"Our shelves have just enough for emergency type case surgeries," says ETMC spokesperson Rebecca Berkley.

Non emergency surgeries have been cancelled before, but Stewart Blood Center director Bill Grimes says this time is as critical as it's ever been.

"This is one of our worst, and it always happens after Christmas. We need 20 more a day than we presently draw."

"East Texas should be able to be self sufficient." Grimes says.

Hospitals rely on Stewart, and Stewart is often forced to rely on neighboring centers, or even blood banks from across the country to fill the void.

John Moore, of Trinity Mother Frances Hospital says "We have not had to postpone or cancel any surgeries, but our blood supply is extremely low."

"What worries physicians is that more surgeries may have to be cancelled if Stewart doesn't get more blood on their shelves. If we had a major trauma today in Tyler, both hospitals would have a major problem because of either a low blood supply or no blood supply in some cases," Berkley says.

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