There is currently not a full-fledged blood bank at the territory’s main hospital to meet the needs of its patients, including accident victims, cancer patients or individuals who are seriously ill and need blood transfusions.
Ms Devye Nicholson, Laboratory Manager at the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA), speaking as a guest speaker at the Club’s luncheon meeting on September 15, 2022, said blood donated to Dr D. Orlando Smith Hospital must be sent to Puerto Rico for testing and preparation before it can be administered to patients.
She said most often when blood is needed, it has to be ordered from Puerto Rico at a cost of $1,800 per unit. Once ordered it takes an average of 1-2 weeks to receive the blood.
Ms Nicholson stated that having a larger blood storage unit and upgraded lab equipment will allow the hospital to test blood locally and will mean a readily available blood supply to hand. In addition, it will significantly shorten the turnaround time to supply blood to needy patients and lengthen the blood’s storage before expiration.
Meanwhile, the Rotary Club of Tortola is currently raising money to upgrade the blood storage facility at the Dr D. Orlando Smith Hospital Laboratory.
One of the club’s first ventures was a raffle that raised $23,000.