In order to promote awareness of the upcoming 17th Annual Okeechobee Blood Roundup to be held at the Freshman Campus Auditorium on Nov. 19 and 20, we share stories of local Okeechobee folks who have received donations of blood and the difference it made in their lives.
Doctors Manuel and Trinidad Garcia, husband and wife, moved to Okeechobee in 1973 to open their practices in general surgery and obstetrics/gynecology respectively. They both were born in the Philippines, completed medical school there, then met at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Staten Island, New York City while completing their medical training.
In 1972, during the birth of their third child at St. Vincent’s, Doctor Trini developed severe post-partum bleeding that would not stop. The baby had been delivered by C-section but the placenta was still attached to the wall of the uterus. This condition, known as placenta accreta, is associated with an increased risk of heavy bleeding at the time of delivery. Doctor Trini needed a lot of blood in a hurry or she would not survive.
Doctor Manny worked in the ER at St. Vincent’s Hospital and he knew there was not enough blood on hand at the hospital so he called a friend who was a policeman to ask if he could send in some men to donate blood in order to save his wife’s life. Six policemen with Doctor Trini’s blood type showed up and each one donated two units of blood that were transfused immediately into Doctor Trini because there was no time for processing the blood. She woke up to find three IV’s, one in her arm and one in each foot, pumping the precious blood into her body. Doctor Trini can joke about the dire situation now – she thinks she may have more American blood in her body than Filipino blood. Doctor Trini was able to have three more children after the harrowing ordeal with her third child.
Every day there are countless medical emergencies that require blood be on hand to replace that which a person has lost. Hospitals need a steady supply of donated blood to ensure no life is lost because there is no blood available. Donors of the life-saving blood can count themselves as heroes – on the same level as first responders.
Please thank Doctor Trini Garcia for sharing her story by donating the gift of life - your blood - at the 17th Annual Okeechobee Blood Roundup on Nov. 19 and 20, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Freshman Campus Auditorium. All blood donors will receive a commemorative Roundup T-shirt and the first 100 donors will receive a goody bag donated by The Law Firm of Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd.