Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blood Transfusions

Blood transfusions are not a very common thing at Hospital Loma de Luz, but do happen sometimes with critical and unstable patients. Got called into the hospital last night about 8:30 by the on call doc to do some labs on a fairly critical patient. The patient was a 16 year old, 6 days postpartum and weak, pale, high fever, chills with high heart rate and trouble breathing. She had delivered at home with a midwife (usually untrained old ladies, sometimes witch doctors) and the midwife just said she was weak and needed to rest, not saying anything about the fact that she had lost an unreasonable amount of blood during and after delivery.
As soon as I drew her blood, I knew it would be a late night. Her hematocrit was 10%, which is about 1/4 of what her blood volume should be and would need blood as quickly as possible. Her blood type is A negative, not a very common type in the states, but here, very rare. None of our missionaries or Honduran staff are this type.
Since our blood bank is the living, walking, breathing people we are around every day, I didn't have much hope to find blood for her. Luckily she had her sister with her who is the same type. I eventually found a brother and uncle to donate for a total of 3 units. I had to type about 30 people to find the 3 that were the same type as our patient. It was a very long night and very long day today trying to type everyone we could find, hoping they would be able to donate.
Drawing a unit from one of our missionaries...this was one done in the middle of the night.
Luckily she is stable and doing well and now she says ready to go home because she wants to be with her newborn son.

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