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Patient Blood Management and Gynecologic Oncology

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An Interview with Dr. Joseph L. Kelley, MD

Dr. Joseph Kelley is the Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, UPMC Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences. Dr. Kelly is a practicing gynecologic oncologist at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC for almost 20 years.

What conditions do you treat?

Conditions treated include breast and gynecologic malignancies, as well as treating individuals who may require complex gynecologic surgery.

Disease categories include:

  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Cervical and vaginal cancer
  • Trophoblastic disease

How do you feel about treatment patients that refuse transfusions such as Jehovah’s Witnesses?

I have treated patients who are not able to receive blood transfusions.  I feel it is important to treat the whole person, respecting their beliefs, cultures, and religions. 

I find it important to have my patients who refuse transfusions talk with our staff at the Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery so that I may have a clear picture of their wishes. From this I develop a treatment plan and respect the patient’s wishes and beliefs.

We often look to avoid blood transfusions, but when it is required, we will seek alternatives whenever possible. Techniques used to avoid blood transfusions include preoperative hemodilution and minimally invasive surgery.

When needed, we use erythropoietin to improve blood counts prior to surgery. Also, during the surgery, if agreeable to the patient, we use cell salvage. Much of what we have learned from patients who refuse transfusions is now being translated to other patients at UPMC.

How can a patient have her case evaluated?

All members of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology wish to respect patient’s wishes and beliefs with regard to blood transfusions.

For patients with either breast or gynecologic malignancies or complex gynecologic surgery requiring an oncologic surgeon, please call our office at 412-641-5411 to schedule an appointment.