Monday 22 January 2018

Appeal for donors as low blood stocks hit hospitals

Eilish O' Regan and Paul Melia

THE Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) has urged people to make a special effort to give blood over the coming days.

Hospitals will be forced to cancel operations because stocks are running to dangerously low levels.

"We currently have five to six days of stock. We can start to run short of individual blood groups which can result in some elective surgeries being cancelled. We're looking to establish seven contingency clinics on Sunday," IBTS director of operations Paddy Bowler told the Irish Independent.

Donations have fallen by 20pc, and the IBTS hopes to open seven special clinics next Sunday to collect 1,000 donations -- just over two days' supply.

People with O positive, O negative, A positive and B negative blood types are being urged to attend. Donors can also contact 1850 731 137.

Meanwhile, the numbers coming to the emergency department of a major hospital with broken bones and other injuries due to falling in the snow have risen dramatically.

Dr Patrick Plunkett, head of the emergency department in St James's Hospital in Dublin, said the numbers of these patients tripled last weekend, with some requiring surgery.

"Those who have minor injuries are not coming but that does not matter because the really sick people are coming by ambulance or by car," he told the Irish Independent.

"The main injuries we are seeing are in the ankle, wrist, elbow and shoulder. Last weekend I estimate we saw three times our normal number."

The rise has put pressure on orthopaedic surgeons who not only have to operate, but also attend to others in the outpatient department.


The department is not seeing many people suffering pure hypothermia, but they may be suffering from it when they come in with other problems due to a bad hearts or lungs.

The journey to the hospital in an ambulance, leaving their home in a stretcher, can leave them cold and the temperature in the emergency department may also not be high enough.

"I would appeal to people to check on their elderly neighbours to get any supplies they need. Also if people walk around they lessen their risk of hypothermia," Dr Plunkett added.

Irish Independent

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