Suncoast Blood Bank in critical need of donations, especially platelets, after Irma

Among the lingering effects of Hurricane Irma on our area is critical shortage of platelets.

“Surgeries have had to be rescheduled,” said Jayne Giroux, the director of community development for the Suncoast Blood Bank. “The nearest blood bank we have found that can share platelets with us is in Minnesota. We’re working with private aviation companies to get them.”

Irma has left Suncoast Blood Bank in need of whole blood and plasma too, Giroux said, but the shortage of platelets is especially dire.

Platelets are small blood cells that bind together to repair damaged blood vessels. In other words, they cause clotting. Donated platelets are necessary in many surgeries, but they’re most often needed for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy. The therapy can destroy the patient’s own platelets.

Surgeries have had to be rescheduled. The nearest blood bank we have found that can share platelets with us is in Minnesota.

Jayne Giroux

Platelets are very perishable — they have to be stored at room temperature, so they’re only “good” for five days — so the…

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