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Just Saying Thanks
19th May 2016
Today, my 19 week old baby Archer is a healthy, happy little boy. But 18 weeks ago our journey as parents took a very different path to the one we had expected.
When Archer was just six days old he became critically unwell. Within 36 hours we were airlifted to Waikato Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Within six hours we were told three times to prepare ourselves for the possibility he might not survive.
The doctors did not know what was causing him to be so unwell. One of the major issues that was threatening his life was disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), meaning that small blood clots were developing throughout his bloodstream, using up all the clotting factors in the body. Archer’s body could no longer clot, causing massive bleeding internally.
Doctors told us that a baby should have a platelet count of about 300, but when we were admitted to hospital Archer’s count was just 40. His level of fibrinogen, which helps to form blood clots, was so low the lab could not get a reading for it.
After plasma and platelet transfusions his platelet levels went back up to the mid-60s. Unfortunately they dropped again quickly. He got to a low of 8, virtually nothing. During our stay in hospital Archer received 8 blood products: a combination of plasma, platelets and red cells. Without these transfusions Archer would not be here with us today.
I knew donating blood was important, but I never considered the role it plays it emergencies and saving lives. I was also completely unaware that donated blood is processed and broken down to the various different components so they can be used most effectively.
Since our family has been through this experience we now encourage people to donate blood frequently. My brother (Archer’s uncle) is now donating plasma every three weeks to help other families. Most of our other family members have also now started donating blood. We would love to help people see the impact that donating blood has on so many people’s lives. We will forever be grateful to those who donated blood to save our little boy's life.
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