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12:05 PM Tue, Dec. 18th

KRMC in cord blood program

KINGMAN - An Arizona Department of Health Services campaign to inform expectant mothers of the life-saving value of newborn umbilical cord blood is in effect at Kingman Regional Medical Center.

A recently passed law requires medical professionals to inform pregnant women about umbilical cord blood banking options.

Those options include discarding blood found in a baby's umbilical cord, donating it to a public blood cord bank to be screened for use by a person in need or storing it in a family blood cord bank for future use by the child or a family member, a news release from the ADHS stated.

"Some mothers arrange to save cord blood and a kit is sent to our obstetrics department," said Ryan Kennedy, KRMC executive director of operational services. "We collect whatever is requested by these blood banking companies and send it back to them.

"Typically, an expectant mother makes the decision whether or not to participate in the cord blood program during the child's second trimester. At Cerbat Medical Center, we provide information on umbilical cord blood as part of their obstetrics packet.

"I can't speak to other ob/gyn practices in town, but all obstetrics patients are told about cord blood and have the opportunity to work with these companies."

Cord blood banking is a relatively new procedure that can save lives and is totally safe for babies and mothers, the ADHS news release stated.

Dr. Jordan Perlow, a nationally recognized expert on the uses and collection of umbilical cord blood, comments in the release, "The placenta and umbilical cord contain leftover blood following the birth of a child. This is a precious resource and should no longer be considered medical waste. Umbilical cord blood contains stem cells that are treating many life-threatening diseases today."

The blood cells carry oxygen that help fight diseases and stop bleeding, the release further stated.

A downloadable copy of an ADHS pamphlet about umbilical cord blood can be found on the Internet at www.azdhs.gov/phs/owch/index.htm.

It states the blood is useful in treating both malignant and non-malignant conditions such as blood cancers, rare inherited disorders in metabolism and immune diseases. On-going research may one day make the blood useful in treating many heart, bone, liver and brain diseases, along with heart attacks and strokes.

Anyone wishing more information by phone may call Toni Means at the ADHS at (602) 364-1400.