Transfusion In The Bush
January 24th, 2020 by INMED
“We gave our first-ever blood transfusion at Cavango Hospital (Angola, Africa). Malaria had invaded and destroyed the blood of this one-year-old. His fingernails and conjunctiva were snow-white, revealing loss of more than 2/3 of his red blood cells. A finger stick showed blood as thin as tea. We treated his malaria and his fever resolved, but his profound anemia did not. The baby became weaker, barely able to lift his head and he stopped nursing.”
This account from Dr. Tim Kubacki – 2010 INMED Grad – describes a frequent and devastating phenomenon throughout southern Africa: life-threatening anemia due to malaria. Blood transfusion is lifesaving, but until recently unavailable at Cavango Hospital. Enter Dr. Blake Richardson – 2019 INMED Grad – who supplied costly kits equipping Cavango Hospital to transfuse blood safely, without the need for refrigeration or even electricity.
Dr. Kubacki continues, “We typed the baby’s blood, found a friend who was a match., and collected her blood in a specially designed blood bag which prevents clotting. I established an IV live in the baby’s neck and began his transfusion… The baby’s nails turned pink again. The next day, the baby was nursing strongly and sitting up. He was walking after three days, has improved steadily and will survive.”