Premature babies are the tiniest of patients, some arriving at just over a pound, and they need the gift of life: a blood transfusion. While they don’t need much, there is no substitute for donated human blood. “Half a tablespoon, or three teaspoons,” said Dr. Jose Perez, MEDNAX-affiliated neonatologist at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando, Fla. Dr. Perez has taken care of preemies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for more than 20 years, and there have been times when blood supplies were low. “Yes, or we could be short on platelets, which may be even smaller amounts, but the blood transfusion helps them get oxygen to their brain, to their heart, to their kidneys, to their intestines,” Perez said.
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