Maine hospital postpones surgeries due to blood shortage

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The record-breaking cold and winter weather has shuttered blood drives across several states and placed an increased strain on the national shortage of blood products, forcing the Maine Medical Center in Portland to reschedule surgeries.

Maine Medical Center announced in a statement on Feb. 19 that less than a dozen surgeries had been rescheduled in the past three weeks due to the national shortage of blood products, the Portland Press Herald reported.

“MMC is constantly monitoring its blood supply as part of its effort to deliver high-quality, safe patient care and will communicate with patients directly if any future appointments need to be rescheduled due to this issue,” the hospital said.

A spokesperson for Northern Light Health — a network of more than a dozen Maine hospitals — noted that the shortage is “highly concerning” but said that no surgeries have been delayed.

“First, we encourage those who can give blood to please do so,” Suzanne Spruce, chief marketing and communications officer for Northern Light Health, said in a statement Sunday.

“Northern Light Health belongs to a cooperative network of blood banks that are willing to help one another when patients are in need. We have not yet had to postpone surgeries; however, we have asked that routine transfusions that can be safely delayed to some patients be postponed until shipments of blood arrive,” Spruce said.

Becky Schnur, spokesperson for the Maine Hospital Association, said the organization had not heard of any surgeries being postponed due to a lack of blood products. MHA represents 36 community-governed hospitals.

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