View Full Version : Blood donation

Mary Lou
11-10-2004, 07:14 AM
I'm sure the question I have was discussed before, but I'll ask anyway. My 13 year old daughter is scheduled for posterior surgery December 7th and her surgeon wants her to donate four units of blood. Because of her age, the blood bank won't let her donate that much blood. Our insurance won't pay for me to donate for her and the cost is pretty pricey. For anyone who's had surgery already, how much blood did you need during/after surgery?

Thank you,
Mary Lou

Bill's mom
11-10-2004, 09:36 AM
Mary Lou,

My son just had posterior surgery last week and he didn't need any extra blood during surgery. (I don't know exactly what they did - and definitely can't explain it technically - but they just used any blood that he lost during surgery and put it back.)

He had donated a unit and my husband had donated a unit prior to surgery but neither was needed.

4 units sure sounds like a lot.

Good luck. I know how tough these weeks before surgery are.


11-10-2004, 11:51 AM
Hi Mary Lou,

I agree with Susan. Four units is a LOT of blood for a 13yr old. I believe that the cost prohibits families from doing more direct donations - this is something I wish wasn't an issue here in the USA. The quality of bloodbank blood is very good. If she truly does need a transfusion, the quality of blood should not make you worry.

Is she having posterior-only surgery? If so, the amount of blood loss is usually minimal. The anterior surgeries usually have more blood loss just because of the nature of the surgery. You are disrupting ribs/bone, internal organs, soft tissue, etc. I don't have any statistics, but I believe more people with anterior surgery require transfusions than people having only posterior surgery. I'm sure this doesn't help you feel better. I just wanted you to know that we are sending our best and that I think your surgeon is making you worry needlessly. Good luck!

Mary Lou
11-10-2004, 01:31 PM
Susan and Carmell....

Thank you both for replying. I too thought 4 units was a lot of blood for anyone to donate in such a short period of time, let alone an 87 lb. 13 y.o.! I am planning on taking her for her first donation appointment and see how things go from there. If she is able to donate even one or two units before surgery, that will be better than nothing. And if she has any problems with donating, then we will just stop. I don't want her getting herself run down before surgery for any reason. As you said, Carmell, posterior is less likely to need blood and that is all she is having.

Susan, I'm glad to hear your son is doing so well! It really helps ease my worries to know how other children do after surgery. I wish your family well.

Thank you again, both of you for you input and good wishes and thoughts. It is funny, but I spend a lot of my days thinking about people from this site. I get a lot of support from my family, but it just isn't the same as the support that I get from my "forum family."

I'll keep you posted.

Mary Lou

11-10-2004, 01:48 PM
Hi Mary Lou,

I know I "talk" too much, but I just wanted to agree with you, again. Even our most well-intended family members have no idea what life is like for our kids and families. Only other parents with kids similar with similar medical issues can understand the fullness of the situation. My children are strong and healthy and they continue to live life to the fullest. They just have more medical appointments and trials to go through than most other kids. Their attitude helps me get through whatever issue we are currently dealing with. I hang out on several messageboards and email lists to remember each day that someone else is always worse off than I am, and that someone else will always care.

Your daughter is VERY tiny to be donating blood. Good luck with the donation. Maybe if they take 1/2 of a unit a couple of times it will be easier on her little body. Good luck and keep us posted. I'm sure she'll do great, regardless.

11-10-2004, 03:08 PM
>>Carmell says

I know I "talk" too much,

I don't think you talk too much at all. You just keep right on talking, as far as I'm concerned.

In fact, a friend of mine has a 3-year-old nephew who has just been diagnosed with scoli (among other things) and I suggested this site because "there's this woman named Carmell...."


11-10-2004, 04:22 PM
Hi Patricia,

Thanks for your kind words. I'd love to hear about your friend's nephew. I know hearing that your child has a potential long term problem is very hard to deal with. They are not alone. If you'd like, she can look at my webpage to see some pics of a child with scoliosis...


I hope all is well at your place. Keep up the good work!

Mary Lou
11-11-2004, 06:40 AM
No you don't talk too much! I don't even know you, but I feel comfortable talking to you and I trust your opinions. People who've gone through what we are all dealing with are much more knowledgable than even the doctors sometimes. Doctors deal with the surgical side of things but it's people like you who tell us about things we would have never imagined. Ex: doctors don't talk much about depression; they don't prepare you for what to bring to the hospital; etc.
As you said, there are children who are much worse off than our children (my daughter's situation is mild compared to what your little boy has gone through) but we all know how scary things are sometimes. I thank God every day that my children are happy, healthy young ladies. As I tell my oldest daughter, this is a rough time for us but atleast we have her here and her Kyphoscoliosis isn't life threatening. Things could be worse.
I contacted the doctor's office yesterday and left a message for him stating that the blood bank won't take four units. As I said before I would like her to donate her own blood, but I'm not going to stress myself over that issue. There are more important things at this point to worry about.....like surviving a house full of teenage girls for a sleep-over lol. We are trying to keep a sense of humor and keep life as normal as possible.
Thanks again Carmell and keep the great information coming!
Mary Lou

11-11-2004, 07:46 AM
hi marylou
My daughter had surgery last week and beforehand they wanted one unit from her. We got there and she was hysterical and they wouldn't do it. So my husband was going to do it and if it was him they wanted two units from him. He was not able to donate when he got there and they were going to use blood from the blood bank for her surgery. I was a little upset about that, but they assured me that it would be fine. Needless to say they did not need any blood during her surgery. They used her blood that she lost and filtered it out. I was very happy about that. But three days after the surgery they said she was anemic and were hoping not to have to give her any blood. They said if she did donate they would have gived her some of her own back, but since they didn't they would try and hold off. In the long run she was fine and didn't need any. Now at home they just want me to give her vitamins with iron.
Good luck. With your daughters surgery getting near this board will be a great help. I know it helped me so much get through the surgery and now i know it will through the recovery.

11-11-2004, 08:33 AM
Hi MaryLou,
My daughter had surgery 7 months ago. She was 13 at the time but her weight was 118 pounds. She donated 4 units of blood before hand (one unit per week beginning 5 weeks before her surgery). They also had her receive four injections of Procrit during that same time period. This is a drug that restores red blood cell count/iron count. It builds the body up to prepare for surgery. We were fortunate that our insurance covered these injections and donations. She did well with the donating. The first time she got a little lightheaded but after that she did fine. She drank lots of water the day before and the day of donating and that helps to prevent dehydration and opens of the veins for an easier donation. Good Luck with everything. Know you have many people keeping you in their thoughts and prayers.

11-11-2004, 08:36 AM
Sorry, I meant to add that during surgery she received one of her units back and after surgery another unit.