Blood bank can’t test blood, surgeries being suspended

By Benjamin Flowers

Persons seeking elective (non-emergency) surgeries at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) are being deffered until further notice because of a shortage of blood at the Belize National Blood Transfusion Service (Blood bank).

The KHMH said on Monday that it had been able to keep elective surgeries going up to this point, but has to suspend them out of sheer necessity.

“As soon as the Blood Bank services return to normal functioning so will our full spate of surgical services,” the hospital added.

Gerhaldine Morazan, Director of Lab Services at the Central Medical Laboratory, said that the lab has a limited supply of blood testing reagents that are reserved to deal with emergency cases, but that the lab is hoping to receive more sometime in next week.

Morazan explained that the shortage was a result of the supplier company Bio Rad, recalling a set of reagents with a specific lot number due to quality assurance failures. The recall meant that the Ministry of Health did not receive its order on time to keep supplies at a sustainable level.

Bio Rad, the company that supplies the reagents had quality assurance problems due to a move of their facility.

She added that the MOH is preparing to upgrade its processes in November and begin a new form of testing which will move away from the reagents supplied from Bio Rad.

“This is not to say that it will be 100 percent reliable, there’s no way of predicting if something like what happened to Bio Rad could happen to this company, but they are of a much higher standard than Bio Rad,” Morazon said.

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