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On Your Side: Hospital says blood shortage can delay patient care

technician with blood donations

One blood donation can save three local lives. (March 22, 2010 / WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 O'Clock, March 22, 2010

AUGUSTA -- Aaron Clements is a regular blood donor.

"That 30 minutes that you spend there can give you hours and hours of good feelings of knowing that you helped people," said donor Aaron Clements.

When he and others donate, the blood is tested and stored. But it doesn't last forever. Red blood cells last for 45 days, but platelets -- which aid in clotting are good for just five days. Plasma, just one day.

Doctors Hospital uses 90 percent of that blood for burn patients.

"With 26 patients in house, going to surgery three (patients) a day, that makes a huge dent. You really go through it fast," said Caryl Havasy of Doctors Hospital.

But hundreds more units are needed for the rest of the hospital.
And the shortage of O-Negative blood, usually used during emergencies, actually delays patient care.

"When we're short on o-neg, we call and we ask they delay surgeries, treatments until we can get that."

That can hurt those like Aaron, who remembers his car accident well.

"It was the kind where they have to use the jaw of life to open up the truck and get me out," he said. "Luckily the blood was there, the doctors did everything, the right way, and everything went well. But if it wouldn't have been for that, I'm not sure what would have happened."

You can donate tomorrow at First Baptist Church on Walton Way for the Shepeard Community Blood Center's blood drive.

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