More blood donors are needed to help patients suffering from liver damage linked to the weight-loss supplement OxyELITE Pro.
When there's a crisis of sorts and there's a need for more blood, the Blood Bank of Hawaii puts a call out to its regular donors.
"That's the least I can do. I've always wanted to give the gift of life," blood donor Lynn Yamamoto said.
And that's what's happening now. The spike in liver damage cases in Hawaii from the weight loss supplement OxyELITE Pro has led to more liver transplants.
The Blood Bank has been working with the Queen's Medical Center's Liver Center to make sure it is properly supplied for liver transplants.
"In order to meet the need for one liver transplant, you could need a dozen, two dozen, three dozen donors to come in to donate blood to help save that one person," said Maura Dolormente, Blood Bank of Hawaii.
That's because a patient needs blood not just during the transplant, but also while waiting for one.
"Before they have a transplant, patients often need blood transfusions to keep them going before they have the transplant itself," Dolormente said.
The Blood Bank is always grateful to receive any blood type. But those with type O are even higher in demand.
"O positive and O negative blood types are the universal donors and we could never have enough of that on the shelf. We could always use that type of blood," Dolormente said.
The Liver Center says right now, there are three patients waiting for a transplant. They do expect more patients with liver damage problems in the days ahead.
While the State Department of Health has ordered retailers to stop selling OxyELITE Pro, it's still unknown how much damage it has done.
It's still not clear if other products out there with the same ingredients can cause the same problems.
The state DOH is working with federal investigators to see if other supplements with similar ingredients might need to be pulled off the shelves.
For more information on how you can donate blood, visit this website.
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