Tuesday, August 25, 2009

This is anemia

We see patients with low hemoglobin here all the time. In the US, I was concerned if someone's hemoglobin was less than 10, here that is the norm. Everyday, numerous patients come in with hemoglobins of 7 or 5, even 3's aren't too uncommon. Until last week, the lowest I had seen was a 1.8 in a patient who was bedridden and was carried in by her family. This low changed the end of last week when a patient came in from the Jimi Valley (far away) with a hemoglobin of 1.1 - yep you read it right, 1.1 (sorry I can't get the picture to be upright). I didn't know this was compatible with life, but apparently it is. If you lose blood slowly over time, your body is able to compensate for the loss and you are able to continue to function. Her husband told me she had been sick for about 2 months getting weaker and weaker. I asked if she walked in from the Jimi, he said no they carried her. It took them 2 days to get here. Thankfully she received some blood and feels better, her hemoglobin was 5 when I saw her over the weekend.