by Dr. Kelechi Okoro
I’ll never forget the day I and my team were up all night, not only posting all over social media but making calls to find blood donors for a patient who needed urgent transfusion.
How we ended saving 2 lives instead of one.
“Kilishi, oya oya, we just got a call. One woman in Specialist hospital needs blood o, she was brought in pale. She has No money. No blood match in the blood bank. No one to assist.
(Erm, my mentor calls me Kilishi, Kilishi for Kelechi, LOL)
Sleep had cleared from my eyes sef as we drove the hospital. We were already posting on online…making calls… looking for a match upandan. We got to the hospital and the sight of the patient was so heart wrenching. She was frail and white as paper
It was about 12:30am. We didn’t know how but we knew help will come. So we started the procedure. Gave a go ahead to the hospital to take samples for grouping and cross matching while we waited
“I would have loved to donate but I am in Sokoto”.
“OMG, I am a match but I am sick right now I can’t donate.”
“I am a match, how much will you pay?”
We got lots of responses like this until we got 3 positive ones. My madam drove to one location to pick one of them. I took a bike to go and pick another person (opposite direction). One of them said he could find his way to us! Thank God.
Screening tests were conducted on all three. Good-news, 2 were clean but unfortunately, the last person was not cleared to donate. He had blood infections that disqualified him. We just told him to hold on that 2 pints would be enough for the night so he didn’t need to donate.
To cut the long story short, our patient started her blood transfusion that night. We were glad we didn’t lose her.
But we had another matter on our hands. The donor who just found that he had Hepatis B and HIV.
I took him aside and explained the situation to him, I could literally hear the sound of his heart breaking at receiving such news. Further conversation revealed that he finally found a girl whose blood group is AS and there was a possibility they could get married. Triple tragedy!
A lot of people are not aware of the need and benefits of donating blood. Donating blood will not only save another person’s life, it may save yours. Mr. A in the story above would have never found out he had HIV and Hepatitis B if he didn’t set out to be a hero on that fateful night!
Nigerian adults should make it a point of duty to donate blood at least 4times a year for male and 3 times a year for females. If you are between the ages of 18 – 65, weigh above 45kg, have a normal Pack Cell Volume (PCV), normal blood pressure and free of blood infections, then you can donate.
It is our collective duty to make sure blood is always available in the blood banks. You never know whose life you might be saving, someone close to you may be the beneficiary. Maybe a total stranger. Hey, who knows, it may be you!