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Letter: Some would-be blood donors don’t qualify

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Dr. Dan D. Waxman

Chief medical officer, Indiana Blood Center


Columbus Regional Hospital and 60-plus other hospitals in Indiana rely on Indiana Blood Center to recruit, collect, test, process, label and distribute donated blood from healthy Hoosiers to patients in need at Indiana hospitals. Such is our nonprofit mission, to provide transfusion-ready blood components.

Alongside an article on July 3 about our work with Columbus Regional Hospital, The Republic also ran a piece through the voice of a hemachromatosis patient on the therapeutic phlebotomy program we ended due to budget constraints a year ago.

The patient’s claim that “what I’ve got you can’t get because it’s a hereditary thing” is correct. What the article is missing is the explanation why the blood is not used.

Blood collected during therapeutic phlebotomy can be added to the supply of units at the ready for hospitals only when the donor meets all eligibility criteria set forth by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the agency that regulates our work as a biologic drug manufacturer. Just 20 percent of therapeutic phlebotomy patients met the federal donor standards.

That is, four out of five of the therapeutic phlebotomy patients in Indiana Blood Center’s free program would have been deferred (unable to donate) for some other reason were they to present as a volunteer donor.

Indiana Blood Center is responsible for providing a continuous, safe and adequate supply to the community while focusing on initiatives that ensure the availability of lifesaving components to Indiana hospitals.

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