Man Saves 2 Million Babies through Plasma Donations

Amanda Casanova | Religion Today Contributing Writer | Tuesday, June 09, 2015
Man Saves 2 Million Babies through Plasma Donations

Man Saves 2 Million Babies through Plasma Donations


James Harrison, an Australian man, has reportedly saved more than 2 million babies by donating blood plasma from his right arm for the past 60 years.

 

Harrison, also known as “The Man with the Golden Arm,” has donated blood plasma nearly every week for the past 60 years, according to CNN.

 

"In 1951, I had a chest operation where they removed a lung -- and I was 14," said Harrison, who is now 78.

 

"When I came out of the operation, or a couple days after, my father was explaining what had happened. He said I had (received) 13 units (liters) of blood and my life had been saved by unknown people. He was a donor himself, so I said when I'm old enough, I'll become a blood donor."

 

After Harrison starting donating blood plasma, doctors called him to tell him about rhesus disease, a disease where a pregnant woman’s blood attacks her unborn baby’s blood cells. 

 

The disease happens when a pregnant woman with rhesus-negative blood is carrying a baby with rhesus-positive blood. If the mother has been sensitized to rhesus-positive blood she may produce antibodies that destroy the baby’s blood cells.

 

Harrison was discovered to have an unusual antibody in his blood, so he worked with doctors to develop Anti-D, an injection that prevents women with rhesus-negative blood from developing RhD antibodies during pregnancy.

 

"Every bag of blood is precious, but James' blood is particularly extraordinary," said Jemma Falkenmire, of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. "His blood is actually used to make a life-saving medication, given to moms whose blood is at risk of attacking their unborn babies. 

 

“Every batch of Anti-D that has ever been made in Australia has come from James' blood. And more than 17% of women in Australia are at risk, so James has helped save a lot of lives."

 

 

Publication date: June 9, 2015

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