Charlotte surgeon working to increase shelf life of platelet donations to save more lives

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Dr. Susan Evans of Carolinas Medical Center says right now, platelet donations are a key to saving many of her trauma patients, but they only last about five days.

Platelets are stored warm, unlike other blood donations, so they have to be thrown away after five days.

Dr. Evans is researching ways to store the platelets cold and treat them with a type of supplement to double their shelf life. She says this could save many of her Charlotte patients who suffer gunshot wounds, car wreck injuries and other traumas.

"I stood in the operating room with people bleeding enough, that I wanted to see if we could find ways to make it better," she says. "To see if we could save people's lives. Once we realized there's a potential to have an impact on how platelets are working, that's what motivated me to study them."

Evans says she treated crash victim and local paramedic Eric Hudspeth in June 2014 after he was struck by a drunk driver. The surgeon says Hudspeth required 36 units of red blood cells, 35 units of plasma and two units of platelets received from donors to save his life.

The hospital says it is currently experiencing a shortage of platelets, as it often does during the final days of the year. The next CHS-affiliated drive will be at CHS Mint Hill on Jan. 4 from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

If you'd like to make a charitable donation to Carolinas Surgical Fund, you can go here. Hospital officials say contributions will be designated for Evans' research.

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