Donated placentas could aid others

Tiny Sarai Harris was just born Tuesday but she is already on her way to helping someone else. After she was born at Doctors Hospital, her mother, Geonna, chose to donate the placenta to a company that can use it to make treatments for other patients.

The placenta was just going to be discarded, she said, “so why not keep it and help someone else?”

The company, Surgical Biologics of Kennesaw, Ga., said on its Web site it uses the amniotic membrane or amnion, the innermost membrane, to help heal various wounds.

It can be used in eye surgery to replace or patch tissue, in dental treatments to help heal damaged gums, and delivers growth factors and helps inhibit scar tissue formation in hard-to-heal wounds, according to the company Web site.

Doctors, which has one of the largest burn units in the world with the Joseph M. Still Burn Center, has a special interest in healing burns. The hope is the program could eventually help provide material that could aid skin grafts, said Annette Repko, director of women’s services at Doctors.

Dr. Erna Waxman, of West Augusta Obstetrics & Gynecology, said she has encouraged her patients to consider it and most do.

“Everybody’s been really positive,” she said. Their reasoning is much the same as Sarai’s mother.

“There are probably no drawbacks,” Waxman said. “You don’t really lose anything. The placenta is going to be discarded anyway so why not use it?”

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Mon, 02/27/2017 - 20:41

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