Friday, November 14, 2008

Giving Blood

On Wed, Anton came into the ER with a hemoglobin of 2. He has AML - acute myelogenous leukemia and has just received his first dose of chemo. He was suppose to come in for followup, but he wasn't doing so well. I quickly assessed him, and got him admitted. I told the family that he was going to need blood, but they quickly pointed out that he is O, and they were A and B. This is a problem.
In our hospital, we have a blood bank, but it only works when family members of the patient give blood. The family gives blood and we then turn and give that blood to the patient. Occasionally, a pt doesn't need all the blood that the family has donated, so we have some extra, but this isn't the norm, and it wasn't the case on Wed. We didn't have any O blood in the blood bank, and so we had a problem.
I started asking the student nurses in the ER what blood type they were. I know they get some sort of points or something for giving blood. Only one was O, so I told him to go to the lab, he went, but then apparently decided not to give. I knew I was O, so just before lunch, I took the time to give for Anton. While I was there the nurse from peds and the student came down to collect blood from a patient on peds ward. We started talking and they both said they had given before, but haven't since. I don't fully understand why people aren't willing to give. Even when pt's come in and need blood and we tell their family, they always say they will have to call the lain, they don't volunteer themselves to go. At times it is funny, but at times it is sad when someone needs blood and no one will donate.
Just like anywhere else, once you give blood they give you something to drink and watch you a while as you recover. I declined this offer as I was heading home for lunch, and for the afternoon. My trip to town on Tues caused some GI problems and I needed to go home and rest for the afternoon. Giving blood may not have been the best idea given my situation, but I knew Anton needed it more than I did. I am hoping that my giving blood won't affect my tennis game. After beating Bill for the first time on Tuesday, I know he will be back stronger than ever tomorrow to try and beat me again.