Houston Hospitals Delay Surgeries

Friday, April 6th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HOUSTON (AP) _ Doctors at two hospitals have postponed surgeries due to a blood shortage in the nation's fourth largest city, and the regional blood center is appealing for donors.

A liver transplant under way Thursday night at Memorial Hermann Hospital forced the postponement of another surgery until Friday, said Beth Hartwell, medical director of the laboratory and blood bank for the hospital.

She said blood bank had 20 units of type O, far short of the 120 needed to get through two days.

``I've been here 10 years, and I've never seen it get this low,'' Hartwell said in Friday's Houston Chronicle. She said it was the first time a blood shortage meant rescheduling surgery.

Surgeons at The Methodist Hospital were delaying a major heart operation because of the blood shortage, said Dr. David Yawn, co-director of Methodist's transfusion center.

At the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, officials planned to send a mobile clinic out to conduct a blood drive Friday. The blood bank had only 15 units of type O blood Thursday evening.

``If they bring in somebody who needs more than that to survive, the patient is going to die,'' said Dr. Alexander Indrikovs, director of the branch's blood bank, which also serves an area hospital.

Blood drives were also planned in several locations in Houston, and officials at the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center appealed to donors to help replenish the critically low supplies.