WTEN: Critical Blood Shortage Affecting People Being Treated for Cancer
Carolyn Whittaker, RN, an infusion nurse at St. Peter’s Hospital Cancer Care Center, was interviewed by WTEN for its story on the nationwide blood shortage. David Salway, one of Whittaker’s patients, also agreed to be interviewed for the story and spoke about the critical role transfusions play in his ongoing care.
From the story:
David Salway’s life depends on getting platelet transfusions. The Delmar man was diagnosed with multiple myeloma a year ago and had a stem cell transplant at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City back in January. He also receives treatment at St. Peter’s Cancer Care Center in the Capital Region.
Carolyn Whittaker is an infusion nurse who works with many being treated for cancer like David. She knows how critical it is that the blood is there when people fighting cancer need it, to replenish their blood counts and sustain them after chemotherapy. “
We call the blood bank to make sure it’s there for them. Sometimes we have to get it at another location. Sometimes we have to have someone come back the next day” Whittaker told us.
But it’s not possible if the blood isn’t available. Whittaker says, “When you get treatment, unfortunately, it can’t differentiate between the good cells and the bad cells, so it will knock their counts down. People in order to get treated, need to have good counts.”