Leitchfield woman has personal reason to encourage blood donation; TLRMC to host blood drive on Feb. 24
Bill Oldham, Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center
For many people, donating blood is something they leave for others to do. Fear of the donation process, difficulty finding time or a lack of awareness can hold them back. Some people have medical conditions that prevent them from being able to donate.
Fortunately, there are several people who routinely donate blood out of a sense of service to others. For one Leitchfield woman being able to donate blood took on a special meaning for her after she required blood given by strangers to save her life.
Leandra Lindsey had donated blood several times and had seen patients receive blood at Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center where she has worked for several years. A mother of two young girls, Kayden and Kansas, Leandra was enjoying her family life and her work in the medical field. A near-death health crisis was one of the farthest things on her mind.
In June 2015, Leandra started having female health issues and standard treatments
“I was losing blood and experiencing dizziness and headaches that wouldn’t go away,” Leandra said. “I was up all night and kept almost passing out. My heart rate was quite rapid.”
Ignoring her husband Chris’s request that she stay home the next day and rest, Leandra insisted that she needed to go to work to attend a meeting that afternoon. Soon after arriving at the office a co-worker, Cheryl, took one look at her and, as Leandra tells the story, said in strong words, “You’re gray, you are going down for labs right now!”
The hospital lab quickly determined her hemoglobin levels were extremely low which put her at a high risk of dying. Her hemoglobin level was five while 12-16 is the normal range for adults. Leandra was sent directly to the Critical Care Unit for an infusion of four units of blood, and 36 hours later was released from the hospital after becoming stable.
“I have worked with patients for so many years but I never expected to become the patient, even in all the things I have experienced during my time here,” Leandra said.
The following day she had surgery to correct her health problem and put her on the pathway of recovery.
“I had seen patients normally get from two to three units of blood at a time during my work in the TLRMC infusion center, so I knew that needing four units was very serious,” Leandra stated.
Her vital signs were poor and Leandra was later told that she was “hours away” from dying.
Leandra said,“If I would have stayed home to rest alone that day I probably would have died from cardiac arrest. Coming to Twin Lakes saved my life. It’s crazy to think that I was so close to dying in the blink of an eye over a common health problem.”
The first lesson Leandra would like people to learn from her experience is to get health problems checked early before they become serious.
She said, “Don’t put off seeking attention as long as I did. Waiting not only put me and my family in a medical emergency but it also may have caused life-long health issues for me. Without other people taking the time and making the effort to donate blood I probably wouldn’t be here.”
That leads to the second thing Leandra would like people to know – donating blood truly does save lives. “My husband would have lost his wife and my daughters would have lost their mom if it weren’t for those donors,” she said.
After having to wait 12 months after her surgery to be able to donate blood, Leandra was excited about being able to pass along the gift of life to others. Now working for Drs. Lee, Buck and Lee, Leandra is grateful to be able to take advantage when Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center hosts their regular blood drives.
“I’ve probably donated 20 times now in my lifetime even though it wasn’t common for people to do that in my family,” she said, “I get a card showing where my donated blood goes and I really love that.”
Leandra has donated three times since her health scare and said, “I am so thankful and want to give back as many blood donations as I can so someone does not have to go without their spouse, child, parent, grandparent, or friend. Knowing I am giving the gift of life is a wonderful feeling.”
Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood and approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S. Leandra closed with this thought; “My family and I will always be grateful for the people whose blood donations helped save my life.”
The next blood mobile at TLRMC will be on Friday, February 24 from 8 a.m. until noon. The donation bus will be parked next to the Cave-Bland building on the western side of the hospital. Registered donors can make the process even faster by using RapidPass from the American Red Cross.
(Smartphone users can download an app from the American Red Cross that enables them to set an appointment, helping to ensure the donation process is as timely as possible.)
Blood donation facts from www.redcrossblood.org
•The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs.
•More than 1.68 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2016. Manyof them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
•A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
•The number of blood donors in the U.S. in a year: 6.8 million
•Although an estimated 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood at anygiven time, less than 10 percent of that eligible population actually does each year.
•Blood cannot be manufactured – it can only come from generous donors.
•Type O negative blood (red cells) can be transfused to patients of all blood types. It isalways in great demand and often in short supply. Only 7 percent of people in the U.S. have type O negative blood.
•The average adult has about 10 pints of blood in his body. Roughly 1 pint is given during a donation.
•Donating blood is a safe process. A sterile needle is used only once for each donor and then discarded. Every blood donor is given a mini-physical, checking the donor temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin to ensure it is safe for the donor to give blood.
•The actual blood donation typically takes less than 10-12 minutes.
•All donated blood is tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and other infectious diseases before it can be released to hospitals.
•Information you give to the American Red Cross during the donation process is confidential. It may not be released without your permission except as directed by law.
•A single donation can potentially help more than one patient.
•The Red Cross provides blood for patients in approximately 2,600 hospitals across the U.S.
•Eighty percent of the blood donations given to the Red Cross are collected at mobile blood drives.