Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen First in Collin County for Texas Cord Blood Bank Collection

Aug 11, 2010, 11:54 ET from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen

Collin County moms now have a free option with new cord blood collection service

ALLEN, Texas, Aug. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Clara Maughan is less than a day old and she's already helping save lives.

Clara's cord blood — which parents David and Stacy Maughan of McKinney decided to donate hours before her birth at 1:53 a.m. Monday morning — could very soon be used to save the life of a person suffering from a potentially fatal disease.

"It's a win-win situation if there is a match available," said Stacy while cradling Clara in their room at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen. "If we needed cord blood we would want the opportunity, too."  

Just a week earlier, Texas Health Allen joined the Texas Cord Blood Bank as the first and only hospital in Collin County to offer the collection of life-saving cord blood as a free service to its patients.

"We are pleased to be the first hospital in Collin County to offer this phenomenal benefit to our community," said Sheila McKinney, president of Texas Health Allen.  

Umbilical cord blood, which is normally discarded after the birth of a baby, is rich in blood-making cells that can be used as an alternative to bone marrow transplants to treat cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, disorders of the blood-making system such as sickle-cell anemia and severe immune-system disorders.

The Texas Cord Blood Bank is a non-profit program established by the Texas legislature in 2001 to collect umbilical cord blood that can benefit patients suffering from a number of fatal diseases. Since the program began collecting in 2005, more than 30,000 donations have been collected.

Carla Chila, director of Women and Infant Services at the hospital, emphasized the primary advantage the Texas Cord Blood Bank offers patients who utilize the new service.

"In the event that your child requires cord-blood treatment, it's critical that it comes from a diverse source," said Chila. "Collaborating with the Texas Cord Blood Bank, and its network of donor hospitals, is just the right thing to do for our patients."

There is no cost to parents associated with donating, and the cord blood will help build a state-wide cord blood bank that captures the vast ethnic diversity of Texans, as ethnicity plays a key role in finding a suitable genetic match for patients.

"We are very excited Texas Health Allen has joined the program," said Mary Beth Fisk, Director of the Texas Cord Blood Bank. "This will provide mothers in Collin County the option of saving lives when they give birth while enhancing TCBB's ability to provide cord blood for life-saving transplants."

The Texas Cord Blood Bank's first collections began in June 2005.  Texas Health Allen is the first hospital in Collin County and the second in North Texas to join the effort.

Cord Blood Collection Process

Physicians on the medical staff, nurses and other Texas Health Allen employees have undergone training in preparation for collections that began in August 2010.

Women delivering at Texas Health Allen can opt to complete a brief screening questionnaire similar to one necessary when donating blood. For those who are eligible to donate, the process is simple. The patient's physician will drain cord blood from the umbilical cord and placenta shortly after the baby is delivered. Physicians traditionally collect cord blood samples in order for the hospital to determine blood type and run basic tests before discarding the umbilical cord and placenta.

Collections are sent with a complete nine-page maternal history to the Texas Cord Blood Bank in San Antonio where the blood is processed and tested within hours of arrival. Once the donated unit passes all quality criteria, it is then stored and made available for search by transplant centers. The Texas Cord Blood Bank distributes a unit if it is a match for a patient in need.

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen is a 62-bed acute-care hospital serving the northern Collin County area since 2000. The hospital's services include women's services, a Level II neonatal intensive care unit, orthopedics, pediatrics, wound care and sleep medicine. Texas Health Allen, an affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, has more than 425 physicians on its medical staff practicing in more than 25 specialties. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL or visit TexasHealth.org/Allen.

About the Texas Cord Blood Bank

Specially approved by the Texas legislature and unique in the State, the Texas Cord Blood Bank is a source of ethnically diverse, life-saving umbilical cord blood. Cord blood, donated following the birth of a healthy baby, is rich in blood-making cells which can be used, like bone marrow transplants, to treat children and adults with certain cancers and otherwise fatal blood disorders. With more than 35,000 people currently waiting for a transplant to be found, donor families across Texas have turned the birth of one child – their child – into infinite possibilities for patients around the world.

SOURCE Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen