Blood the gift of life, the small things that make a difference in a life
Visitors regularly come to Mungeli. We welcome them and give them a tour of the hospital. Often they ended up in the lab’s blood bank to donate blood.
Visitors regularly come to Mungeli. We welcome them and give them a tour of the hospital. Often they ended up in the lab’s blood bank to donate blood. It is amazing how much cultures are different all over the world. Here in India, for historical and cultural reasons, people have a stigma against giving blood. They feel they are hard-working laborers who will be weakened by giving blood. Many would rather let a loved one die than to give them blood.
Mary and Glenn came to visit the hospital one day. Glenn is the son of missionaries and born in India. He brought his wife Mary to experience what he did in his childhood. As we walked into the lab, Mary said, “Anil, I am O negative. May I donate blood?” It was clear that she regularly gives blood in the United States but if she donated here she would not be able to donate again for six months to a year. I gave her a nod and she promptly went right up to the blood bank. I knew that we would be able to keep her blood for emergencies and I also knew that the most common group that we have is “B”. We had four bottles of that in the bank already.
We had a lovely visit and dinner with Mary and Glenn before they left the next morning for the airport.
A short time after they had gone, I was called to the hospital for a young mother who had delivered a baby girl in the village. The placenta was stuck inside and she was bleeding profusely. She was in shock, her heart was racing at 176 per minute, and her blood pressure was falling constantly. I immediately tried to stabilize her and sent her husband and brother-in-law to the blood bank to donate blood. I was sorry to learn that the patient was O Positive, and the two men were both willing to give but were B Positive. I was able to remove the stuck placenta and then we Mary’s blood brought from the lab. Mary’s blood stabilized all the vital signs of the patient as she was transferred to the ICU.
While Mary and Glenn awaited their flight back to the US, 20 year old Gulaba from the village about 12 miles away from Mungeli sat in her bed smiling away, having no idea who the person was who had given her the gift of life at just the right time. Her hemoglobin was still 6.5gm% (we need a minimum of 10gm%) but now we have time to hunt for more relatives as the crisis is over. Surely God works in mysterious ways.
Yes, we can all be smiling angels in our own way and never know that we have changed the course of someone’s’ life.
Anil works with the Synodical Board of Health Services of the Church of North India. He serves as a medical doctor at the Christian Hospital in Mungeli, India.