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Blood shortage puts operations on hold

TT/The Local · 26 May 2009, 11:06

Published: 26 May 2009 11:06 GMT+02:00

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The hospital has combed the length of Sweden to try to secure supplies but the risk remains acute that current blood supplies will not suffice, according to a statement published on Tuesday.

"We have searched the country and will receive supplies by taxi during the day from some remote locations. There is a shortage of blood in the whole country," according to Johan Rönnelid, a chief physician at the hospital.

Rönnelid explains in the statement, which makes an appeal to all new and existing donors to contact the hospital's blood bank, that the shortage primarily afflicts the blood groups O and B.

He explained furthermore that the underlying reason behind the acute shortage of blood is the increasingly advanced healthcare techniques that require larger quantities of blood.

Story continues below…

Blood shortages are not uncommon during the summer months but rarely occur as early as May. The postponement of operations is also a very rare occurrence and has not been necessary at the Uppsala hospital for several years.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:26 May 26, 2009 by UScitizen
I moved here five months ago from the USA where I donated blood every two months. Sweden won't allow me to donate blood here because I can't read and speak the language yet. So someone could die because of a dumb Swedish rule. How sad.
14:21 May 26, 2009 by onur25
Does anybody know why must one know Swedish to be able to donate blood?
14:39 May 26, 2009 by UScitizen
Geblod.nu, the Swedish blood center's official web site states: To become a blood donor in Sweden you must speak and understand Swedish, have a Swedish identity number and be a healthy person between the ages of 18-60.
14:47 May 26, 2009 by mdeklyn
I was a blood donor for 21 years in the UK but as other people commented, because I don't speak Swedish I am not allowed to donate blood here. You would think that after all this time I would know the procedures and risks, but no, the Swedes are adamant that you have to speak the language.
15:06 May 26, 2009 by Bender B Rodriquez
Probably some stupid law that makes it necessary for them to offer an interpreter if they would accept non-Swedish speakers...
15:24 May 26, 2009 by Clariefinch
I've been here in sweden for 6 years now and im pretty good at understanding swedish and i can fake speaking it pretty well and ive been a blood donor for almost 2 years. What i did was, get someone who is a blood donor to translate the paperwork i had to fill in and then memorised it. Went down to the blood bank, filled in the paperwork and boom i was a blood donor :D
15:33 May 26, 2009 by YugYug
I tried to donate blood too. I donated all the time back in NZ, but also came up against the can't speak swedish rule. It probably doesn't make up a huge amount, but I wonder how much they miss out on getting because of that rule?
16:02 May 26, 2009 by High Priestess Kang - Slut
Just curious - do you think the amount of willing donors being turned away is high? Or, could it simply be that Swedish speaking folks don't donate enough or the donor pool is just plain, old small?

Is there a mandate in Sweden which states that those who have received donated blood must, "repay" the supply?
16:03 May 26, 2009 by glamshek
These people already do illegal sex, so what's the use of this strange rule of speaking and reading Swedish before donating blood in Sweden !!
16:05 May 26, 2009 by Mucker
Do they let people from the UK donate blood here? When I lived in Germany, they wouldn't take blood from the UK because of fear of CJD
16:05 May 26, 2009 by "green Swede"
I donated maybe six times when i came here first,only speaking english,then came up against a brick wall,don't know if i just had some good nurses or the rule had not been introduced.you guys have made some good points but the most i'll do now is to make a call or send an e mail,but not turn up to be refused,hell the irony!not to mention i have o negative which all people can take.
16:06 May 26, 2009 by Puffin
I think this is correct - that the costs of supplying interpreters to cover all possible language groups would be prohibitive
16:09 May 26, 2009 by Puffin
How does this work? When I was a blood donor in the UK you were barred from donating for quite a long period after receiving donated blood.

Also you are usually barred if you are on any kind of medication - my arthitis drugs stop me from repaying the many pints I recevied with DD1
16:18 May 26, 2009 by High Priestess Kang - Slut
That's odd considering the blood you would have received was, "good enough" to be in the blood pool to begin with (perhaps Shark can share a little more about this).

As for the repayment - it largely depends on the facility you received the donation from. My father received a sizable amount of blood after a horrific accident. It was the trauma center's policy that he repay what he received (once well enough, naturally). Not only did the trauma center recoup the loss but they created a life long blood donor in the process.

Regarding the weird rules of blood donation, you have me there. I still cannot figure out why, in this instance, the Red Cross has as many limitations on donations that they do considering they have to test all of the samples they receive, anyhow. Perhaps it's my gross naivete or complete frustration - but whenever I hear about shortages and then think of the stupid rules (no gheyers, no donors who lived in Europe for X amount of time, etc...) I want to rip my hair out.
18:12 May 26, 2009 by Xzion
it is easy to donate blood in Muslim contries and people so this for humanity and good reasons.
18:36 May 26, 2009 by CLiv
I have been living in US for 15 years and I'm not allowed to donate blood here because I'm from Sweden and have been spending time there the past 15 years. Anyone that has been spending a certain amount of time in Europe are not allowed to donate blood in US. So US has a pretty much as stupid of a law.
22:40 May 26, 2009 by powerofknowledge
this is very silly Why dont they call people for donating blood,,

i think we should do that i mean the heathy people coz some day we will be sick so the others will help us and so on. God save them
08:23 May 27, 2009 by apostolos1975
The funny thing is that you can get nearly every document in your language or at least in english or ask for a translator to help you but not this paper when donating blood. Stupid, stupid system
09:09 May 27, 2009 by Puffin
I thought that the staff were required to go through your medical history in person and keep records of your answers- usually this is done by the medical staff that man the mobile blood units? how would this work? Do you mean that a team of translators should follow behind in a mini-bus?
10:20 May 27, 2009 by 7
i wonder how many people living temporarily in sweden would be blood donors if they were allowed and how that corresponds proportionately to the supply/demand curve.

and then i would ask. for the rest of you living here permanently, why can't you speak swedish?
14:47 May 27, 2009 by thebean
i have always donated in the US. Have lived here for 8 years and can speak/read swedish. i was rejected because i answered yes to "have you ever done drugs" question. they stated that if one has EVER smoked pot it is a lifetime rejection from the swedish blood bank. THC is out of the body within one month... last toke was 3 years ago. please forgive me for i am a sinner.
16:48 May 27, 2009 by Bender B Rodriquez
And I wondered who would be stupid enough to tick yes on any of those little boxes on the immigration forms you get when entering the US. Now I know why they put them there...
17:01 May 27, 2009 by 7
17:26 May 27, 2009 by Mib
Stupid rules have compounded the "blood shortage". As someone mentioned previously...how difficult is it to translate the document to English and other common languages. Go to the UK and you can get most official forms in numerous languages.

In terms of banning people you have smoked a joint...then I would be in trouble as I've probably "inhaled" passively a number of times. So, another ridiculous rule. Do you think a patient who urgently needs blood is going to give a flying F**k if you can understand Swedish or smoked a joint in the past. As long as the blood is checked for all the usual problems, then what is the problem. Yet again...common sense is ignored in the face of bureaucracy!!
17:36 May 27, 2009 by Plowbridge H. Broad
Donated blood from a weed smoker should be taken and classified as premium juice. It should only given to the creme de la creme of recipients.
17:42 May 27, 2009 by Bender B Rodriquez
The language rule is stupid but some of the rules are there for a reason: they cannot test all blood for all possible diseases.
22:35 May 27, 2009 by Omaro
I think it would be a great idea if the health system makes special days for donating blood, I think it is our responsibility to help others by this.
23:44 May 27, 2009 by Kooritze
Translate the form into a language the vast majority of europeans understand.......English (as opposed to JUST having it in a language understood by a mere 9 million).

Life long ban from donation after pot smoking!......kind of narrows down the percentage of acceptable donators just a tinge I,d say.

Is blood from alcoholics allowed?.......If not that would explain the blood shortage!
08:40 May 28, 2009 by Inletwatcher
LOL can always claim "I tried marijuana once. I did not inhale." -

-- Bill Clinton

My sides are hurting from laughing funny Plowbridge!!

... after 3 months without a hair test pot can't be found in the system. I am an A- blood type. I used to give blood all the time in the states, they used my stuff to make all kinds of great things. Shame, all this shortage is their own fault.

09:08 May 28, 2009 by apostolos1975
Illegal sex??? Can you clarify a bit on that
09:25 May 28, 2009 by claujohansson
I also tried to donate blood but was turned down. Not because of the language but because I was "from bellow the Mexican border", as the woman in the blodcentralen put it (I am from Brazil). I felt so surprised that I didn't even reply.
09:47 May 28, 2009 by 7
you mean by the 9 million who live in the country? how many non-swedish speaking donors are there as a percentage of the donor pool?

and if they made the exception that english would be ok, had the forms, train the majority of the staff to be competent in english (to a reasonable level that they would be exonerated from any liability that could be blamed on a misunderstanding stemming from a translation/interpretation) what's to keep people speaking other languages from insisting their language be included?

and that money spent on putting in the infrastructure to allow the 42 people per year who speak english but not swedish to donate...wouldn't it be better spent bringing in swedish residents who do speak swedish?
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