Shortage Of Blood Platelets, Products Affecting Pediatric Cancer Patients

Dec 28, 2019, 10:24 PM | Updated: 11:16 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A shortage of negative blood-type products has parents of pediatric cancer patients worried, including Lehi resident Tahnee Hamilton.

Hamilton told KSL TV her daughter, Avery, was diagnosed with T Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia eight months ago.

“She has had it really rough,” Hamilton said. “She has done intense chemotherapy sessions once or twice a week – sometimes every day of the week – since May.”

Avery is currently being treated at Primary Children’s Hospital for a rare liver condition called Veno-Occlusive Disease.

Hamilton said her daughter needs blood transfusions multiple times a month and she also gets platelet transfusions. Platelets are the portion of the blood that clot and stop the bleeding.

“Avery has a rare type of blood: AB negative,” Hamilton said. “She needs platelets to build up her blood and energy. We were shocked when a medical professional told us there is a shortage of platelets for negative blood types when she was getting a transfusion a few days ago. The doctor told us they don’t have any more negative platelets, and that is so nerve-racking to think about.”

Hamilton said because of the shortage, medical professionals have had to give Avery positive blood product followed by a RhoGAM shot in hopes of preventing Avery from making antibodies.

RhoGAM is an injection made up of antibodies called immunoglobulin that help protect a fetus from its mother’s antibodies when the mother has negative blood. Without the RhoGAM shot, when the mother’s blood mixes with her baby’s blood at birth, she can no longer have healthy pregnancies.

“We just don’t know. We don’t know if it’s working. Hopefully, she will be able to have children when she gets older,” Hamilton said as she wiped a tear.

Hamilton hoped to spread awareness about the shortage.

“When you have a child who has a blood cancer, the chemotherapy is constantly killing her blood cells and constantly killing her bone marrow,” she said. “Having a blood transfusion is a necessity for her.”

The ARUP labs in Sandy and Salt Lake City donate all their blood products directly to Primary Children’s Hospital, the Huntsman Cancer Institute, Shriners Hospital for Children, South Jordan Health Center and University of Utah Hospitals & Clinics while the Red Cross sends its products all over the country.

Platelet donors are especially needed for cancer patients, recipients of organ donations, patients undergoing open-heart surgery and victims of traumatic injuries.

The Red Cross will be holding blood drives in the coming weeks at the following locations:


1/2/2020: 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., Bountiful South Stake, 102 East 1400 South

1/3/2020: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Intermountain Bountiful, 390 North Main St.

1/10/2020: 12:30 p.m. – 5 p.m., Lakeview Hospital, 630 East Medical Drive

1/18/2020: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Saint Olaf Catholic Church, 1800 South Orchard Drive

Hill Air Force Base

1/13/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Hill Air Force Base, 7910 Georgia Street

1/17/2020: 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Hill Air Force Base, 5711 East Avenue, Base Chapel, Building 445


1/17/2020: 2 p.m. – 8 p.m., Riverton Utah Western Springs Stake, 12691 South 3600 West

Salt Lake City

12/30/2019: 2 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Murray City Library, 166 East 5300 South

1/2/2020: 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., Bennion Stake, 6550 South 2700 West

1/3/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Foursight Capital, 265 East 100 South, Suite 300

1/6/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Cottonwood Heights City, 2277 East Bengal Boulevard

1/7/2020: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Salt Lake Little Cottonwood Stake, 6350 South Rodeo Lane

1/8/2020: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., L3Harris Building F, 640 North 2200 West

1/10/2020: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Teleperformance USA, 1991 South 4650 West

1/13/2020: 7:45 a.m. – 1:45 p.m., Taylorsville High School, 5225 South Redwood Road

1/14/2020: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., JUB Engineers, 392 East Winchester Street, Suite 300

1/15/2020: 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., Salt Lake Cottonwood Stake, 1830 East 6400 South

1/16/2020: 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., Salt Lake Granite Park Stake, 601 East Mansfield Avenue

1/17/2020: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Architectural Nexus, 2505 East Parley’s Way

1/17/2020: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Wells Fargo – East Broadway, 381 East Broadway

1/18/2020: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saint Vincent de Paul Church, 1375 East Spring Lane

South Jordan

1/2/2020: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., South Jordan Utah Country Park Stake, 2447 West 11400 South

1/3/2020: 2 p.m. – 8 p.m., South Jordan Utah Founders Park Stake, 11685 South Kestrel Rise Road, (4510 West)

1/3/2020: 2:30 p.m. – 8 p.m., South Jordan Glenmoor Stake, 4881 West Cindy Lane

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Shortage Of Blood Platelets, Products Affecting Pediatric Cancer Patients