WC trauma units concerned about critically low blood stocks amid COVID-19

The Western Cape Blood Service currently has a two to three-day supply, a five-day supply is what's required.

Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - As COVID-19 infections rise and the festive is upon us, trauma units are worried about critically low blood stocks.

As of Tuesday morning, the Western Cape Blood Service had a two to three-day supply; a five-day supply is what's required.

A trauma surgeon at Groote Schuur Hospital said this was a major concern as the hospital had over the last three weeks already seen a significant increase in the number of patients.

This time of year is synonymous with road fatalities, alcohol-related incidents and an increased risk of violence, however, this festive season carries the added threat of COVID-19.

It's now even more essential for hospital beds to be available for those who need it most.

Dr Deidré McPherson, a subspecialist trauma surgeon at Groote Schuur, has been practising for 15 years.

She said what was being observed at trauma centres across the province over the last three weeks was worrisome.

“There’s been an increase in trauma facilities across the Western Cape and we are getting concerned about it and trauma patients can need up to 12 units of blood.”

McPherson added that: “There’s been an increase in penetrating trauma, such as gunshot wounds as we all as motor vehicle-related trauma.”

She's called on the public to do their bit by donating blood.

Only a mere 1.5% of the Western Cape's estimated seven million residents are blood donors.

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