The Georgetown Public Hospital will now be in a better position to provide emergency blood transfusion, as the National Blood Transfusion Service has acquired the country’s first Trima Accel- Automated Blood Collection System also known as Apheresis Machine.
An Apheresis machine receives blood removed from a donor’s body and separates it into its various components: plasma, platelets, white blood cells and red blood cells.
The machine, purchased at a cost of US$94,000 from a Puerto Rican Laboratory – ISLA LAB – will help to supply patients in need of blood or any specific component.
According to Director of the National Blood Transfusion Service, Dr Pedro Lewis, one of the major blood components required by patients at the hospital is platelets but the amount of platelets garnered from one donor via the current process, cannot raise the count of one adult.
He explained that in order to increase an adult’s platelet count, four donations are needed.
However, with this machine, the transfusion will be able to garner four to six times the number of platelets from one donor’s blood.
“So it’s easier, so if a doctor orders eight platelets, you could get it from one donor,” Dr Lewis noted.
According to Dr Lewis, patients will usually go around pleading with their relatives to donate blood but this too takes time.
Trainers from Puerto Rico are in Guyana working with the staff of the Blood Transfusion unit.
Product Specialist, Lizmariel Vega, one of the trainers, said the process will not only be significantly faster but also safer for patients and donors.
“In a simple donation, you can collect plasma, platelets, or red blood cells together or you can only collect plasma or only collect platelets or platelets and plasma…it will also ensure quality products,” she noted.
It is also equipped with a special needle which reduces pain for donors.
The Apheresis Machine has a lifespan of five years, however, the team will be returning every six months to service the equipment.
The machine was commissioned by Ministers of Public Health, Volda Lawrence and Dr Karen Cummings at the office of the Blood Transfusion Services located in the GPHC compound