Letter to the Editor: Blood Roundup

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In July of this year, little Patricia “Trisha” Entry was burned in a house fire in which her grandmother passed away. Trisha was Traumahawked to Holtz Children’s Hospital at Jackson Memorial Medical Center in Miami. Since that terrible day, Trisha has had three surgeries for her burns, one of which required her to have a unit of blood, six procedures that required general anesthesia, and a long list of medical procedures. Her mother, Patty, is happy to report that, hopefully, next week Trisha will be discharged by her plastic surgeon at Holtz and she will be going to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital for rehabilitation. Patty agreed to let us use Trisha’s story from the 2013 Blood Roundup, which follows below.

Patricia was born premature on Sept. 23, 2010. For a 32-week old preemie, she seemed healthy for the first two or three days until a heart murmur was detected. A pediatric cardiologist was called in, and he ordered Patricia be airlifted to Miami Children’s Hospital where, on Oct. 4, Patricia had open-heart surgery to close three holes in her heart. On Oct. 6, Patricia needed a second open-heart surgery due to a congenital condition called coarctation of the aorta, whereby the aorta is narrowed to an abnormal width. Coarctations are most common where the aorta — the major artery leading away from the heart — arches toward the abdomen and legs. The aortic arch may be small in babies with coarctations. Those babies with severe coarctations, like Patricia, may develop serious problems soon after birth because not enough blood can get through the aorta to the rest of their body. Unfortunately, coarctations cannot be prevented because they are usually present at birth but, if detected early, can be monitored and treated.

During Patricia’s second surgery, due to loss of blood she was given a blood transfusion that included blood coagulation factor VII, one of the proteins that cause blood to clot, to help control bleeding.

Patricia is only 3 years old and she has had five surgeries already. Her coarctation of the aorta will be monitored for narrowing and her aorta can be opened back up by a heart catherization, so hopefully she will not require any more heart surgeries.

Patty has four children at home and is thankful for the donation of blood that helped save the life of her youngest child. Patty and her family believe that it is critically important that people who are able to donate blood will take the time to do so because no one knows who the next person is that will need a life-saving blood transfusion.

Please thank Patty for sharing her daughter’s story from 2013 by donating the gift of life — your blood — at the 15th Annual Okeechobee Blood Roundup on Nov. 21 and 22 at the Freshman Campus Auditorium. All blood donors will receive a commemorative Roundup T-shirt and refreshments.

Susan Williams
Okeechobee Blood Roundup volunteer

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