COTW: Club O Neg

Given that the rest of the McCropders are too polite to want to post after the birth of our baby, I guess it falls to us to resume some normal pattern.

Tenwek is blessed with a blood bank. A few of its units are kept in the lab for ready use, but most of its bank is running around inside the circulatory systems of its donors, who double as the staff and students at the hospital.

And one of the lesser recognized assets that the McCropders bring to the table is not one, but two potential O negative donors. Jason and I (Eric) are blessed to have erythrocytes that know no antigens.

A brief review for those who have forgotten how this works: AB+ people can get blood from anyone, but give to almost no one. O- people are the universal donors. Their blood can go into anyone, which is great if you're an altruistic sort of bloke, but a bit of a tough one if you need blood, since only other O- people (~7% of people) can donate to you. And Jason and I, along with a handful of other people at the hospital, are in just such a club. So we are quite useful to the blood bank. And, if I ever do need a blood transfusion, then I have Jason to donate for me, and vice versa. In fact, I've thought of asking him to refrain from any donation so as to be ready for me in an emergency, but that didn't seem in the missionary spirit of things. Plus, I've never needed a transfusion, so the odds are low.

Thus, every 3 to 5 months, either Jason or I will encounter a patient who needs blood. Bad. But there isn't any, we learn, because the patient is O negative, and the blood bank doesn't have any. Give me a minute, we say. Then, we page the other person and compare notes. Whoever has been the longest without donating heads to the lab.

And this was me the day after Benjamin was born. Jason called me because a young man had been involved in a RTA or "Road Traffic Accident" and suffered a depressed skull fracture. They needed to take him back and elevate it, but were very concerned that he was going to need blood if this was going to work. His blood type: O negative. And so Jason placed the call and reminded me that he had donated a few months ago for the guy with the bleeding ulcer and hemoglogin of 3. And so I found myself on that table again, needle in arm, chatting with the surgical resident who had been sent to await my blood and hand carry it to the theatre, where the patient was waiting.


Timothy said...

Thanks for your generous hearts and blood for others. Love your Mom, Sharon

Sandy said...

I'm laughing and gasping at the same time. What a unique role you and Jason have!