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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 3, 2004

UI Hospitals And Clinics Needs Platelet Donors

Due to increased use by patients at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the DeGowin Blood Center is appealing to area residents to donate platelets.

Platelets are tiny pieces of cells that circulate in the blood and are a part of the body's clotting mechanism. Platelet transfusions are often given to bone marrow and organ transplant patients as well as accident victims and other patients who experience excessive bleeding.

"There have been an extraordinary number of bone marrow and organ transplants performed at UI Hospitals and Clinics in the past few weeks, and we are having a difficult time meeting the demand for platelets," said Mitch Overton, donor recruitment coordinator for the DeGowin Blood Center. "Right now, we need approximately 25 donors every day to meet the needs of our patients.

"Our current donors have been extremely responsive to our needs, but at this point we do need extra help," he added. "Since the shelf life of platelets is so short, we can't work ahead and stockpile them like we can red blood cells or plasma." According to Overton, platelets can only be stored for five days.

"This time of year, we also have the extra difficulty of donors canceling appointments due to colds and flu. Bad driving conditions also cause donors to stay home," he added.

"If we can find a couple of hundred new donors in the next few weeks, it would really make a difference in our ability to treat these patients. When you donate blood or platelets, you are saving a life," Overton said.

You must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be cold and flu symptom free for five days to donate blood or platelets.

Please call 319-356-2058 to schedule an appointment to donate or to find out more about the donation process. Information is also available at

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

CONTACTS: Media: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945,; Writer: Mitch Overton.