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JIS News

Head of the Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, Dr. Lambert Ennis, is appealing to Jamaicans to donate blood for 24 children, ages three months to 12 years, who are in desperate need of the fluid to undergo critical heart surgery.
The surgeries, which are scheduled to take place between February 23 and March 6, will be conducted free of cost by the Congenital Heart Institute of Florida, the Caribbean Heart Menders Association and the Larry King Foundation.
For some of these children, a delay in having surgery could prove detrimental, as some may never get the opportunity to do so again, Dr. Ennis told JIS News.
“It is extremely important that these children have their surgeries at this time, because some of them have been waiting for some time and if they miss this opportunity, it is not possible to say exactly when they will get another chance or whether or not they will be able to have another surgery at a later stage,” he added.
Dr. Ennis pointed out that the safety and overall success of the surgeries will depend on adequate supplies of blood and blood products for each child.
“Each child needs approximately six units of blood, not only to give them back their blood but also to give them the different products of blood, such as white blood cells, and different clotting factors needed during complex surgeries like these,” he explained. Four operations will be carried out per day.
Acknowledging the contribution of Jamaicans who have assisted in the effort over the years, he urged potential donors to join the drive and give the gift of life.
Persons interested in donating blood may do so at any public hospital, which serves as a blood collection centre. Donations may also be made at the Blood Bank in Kingston.