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Type O blood shortage becoming more severe at M.D. Anderson Hospital

Hospital asks for more donors to help hundreds of patients in need

HOUSTON – A national shortage of type “O” blood is hitting Houston’s premier cancer hospital hard.

M.D. Anderson hospital is asking for more donors to step up to make up the shortage for hundreds of cancer patients who are in need of it.

Blood donations traditionally decrease before and after the holidays, but hospital officials said the decrease is more severe this year. Specifically, type O-blood is in short supply across the country and it’s beginning to interfere with patient care at M.D. Anderson.

Jason Reed’s wife, Lisa, is currently battling lung cancer and lately, she’s only been able to get half the type O blood she needs each week.

“With her hemoglobin being low, she’s unable to receive the chemotherapy that she needs. The blood transfusions are what she needs to get that blood level up so she can get the treatment she needs,” Reed said.

Type O positive is the most common blood type, while Type O negative is the universal blood type. It can be given to any patient no matter what his or her individual blood type might be. The current shortage of type O is being blamed on the usual seasonal malaise, but aggravated this time by the severe flu season, making many regular donors ineligible to give blood, and even the weather, keeping donors at home.

“It can get to a point where even major elective surgeries will have to be delayed. The solution is more donors,” said Dr. Adriana Knopfelmacher, with M.D. Anderson Hospital.

More donors are needed immediately not only for Jason Reed’s wife, but for hundreds of others as well. The hospital is asking that anyone with time to donate set up an appointment by going to the hospital’s website at www.mdandersonbloodbank.org or by calling 713-792-7788.