Hope, possibility and promise come to mind when thinking about a new year and the clean slate it provides. A newborn child embodies the essence of all the above. Hours after his birth, Keegan Miille’s future was uncertain as doctors and nurses treated an Rh incompatibility between he and his mom, Julie Ostendorf.
Rh incompatibility is a condition that occurs during pregnancy when a woman and her baby have incompatible blood types – where she has a negative blood type and her baby has a positive blood type. This can lead to hemolytic anemia, a condition in which red blood cells are destroyed faster than the body can replace them.
During her pregnancy Ostendorf knew that her O negative blood type was incompatible with Keegan’s O positive blood type. However, her body had already developed Rh antibodies. In order to stabilize the level of red blood cells in Keegan’s body and minimize damage from the Rh antibodies he was exposed to, a double volume exchange transfusion was needed.
A total of 531 milliliters of blood was transfused--slightly more than the one pint collected during adult blood donation was transfused--which replaced Keegan’s total blood volume twice.
An Infrequent Blood Procedure Saved Newborn’s Life
The procedure had never been performed by doctors and nurses at the hospital where Keegan was born. Ostendorf recalls feeling panicked but was determined to remain positive. “You worry because you don’t have anybody to tell you that we do this, and it works out great. It was definitely a very high emotion day, but the nurses did fantastic,” says Ostendorf.
He remained in intensive care for eight days before mom and dad, Josh Miille could take him home. Since leaving the hospital Keegan hasn’t needed any additional blood transfusions and is a healthy and happy baby thanks in part to blood donors.
Begin a New Decade by Giving to Patients in Need
Right now, the American Red Cross has an urgent need for all blood types. To encourage donations this holiday season, those who come to donate blood or platelets with the Red Cross, now through January 5 will receive a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.
Schedule an appointment to give blood with the American Red Cross by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or activating the Blood Scheduling Skill for Amazon Alexa.
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.