Life is slowly returning to a regular rhythm. Unfortunately, the blood supply is not. Right now, the Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage as the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries rise – and deplete the nation’s blood inventory. Donors of all blood types – especially type O and those giving platelets – are urged to make an appointment to give as soon as possible to prevent further impact to patients.
Red Cross Blood Services Account Manager Susan Sommer spoke with Content Creation volunteer Stephen Bogdan, sharing her miracle story about how donated blood improved her life. Based upon her life-changing experiences, Susan urges others to consider donating blood as soon as possible to help patients in need.
In 1980, Susan was a senior at Syracuse University looking forward to transitioning into full-time adulthood. She benefited from both the physical and mental aspects of Judo and was determined to have one last workout at college. Unfortunately, that last workout turned into an accident. With a crushed leg, she was taken by ambulance to SUNY Upstate University Hospital. “After several hours and many specialists looking at it, it was determined that I would need an amputation,” she says.
Despite receiving the unpleasant news, Susan was determined to not give up hope for a better chance at recovery. “I was from Northern Vermont where there were lots of ski injuries and I felt that I might be able to do better there,” she says. She asked doctors to immobilize her leg so she could drive herself the usual eight-hour trip to her family home. “It took over 12 hours since I had to stop frequently to rest.” She remembers arriving home just ahead of a blizzard, but the next morning, “I went to a highly respected orthopedic surgeon who was experimenting with a new procedure called ‘micro-surgery’ where they use a microscope to work on tiny nerves, tendons and so forth.” Susan recalls that there was a lot of uncertainty about the procedure achieving the most desirable outcome, but it was a chance she was willing to take.
“There was no guarantee that they could save my leg, but with enough time and blood, they felt we had a good chance,” Susan recalls. The surgery took more than eight hours and required eight units of blood, but it was successful. “After 6 months of physical therapy I was able to walk normally again with my own leg,” she explained.
Now, 40 years later, she’s still going strong on that amazing repair. “Without the blood in the hospital to perform this experimental new procedure, I would be working with a prosthetic.” Susan urges you to consider giving blood as soon as you can. Don’t wait for an emergency to decide to give blood. During a crisis there’s no time to wait for donors. Blood donors report feeling a sense of great satisfaction after making their blood donation because helping others in need just feels good. And you will have the eternal gratitude of blood donors like Susan, “I am so grateful to the doctor and to the generous and selfless blood donors who made their very personal gift that made a tremendous difference in my life!”
Donors are needed now to prevent further delays to patient care. Schedule an appointment to give blood now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.