Medicine

Australian for his life saved the lives of 2.4 million children

Australian for his life saved the lives of 2.4 million children

"The end of a long run", said James Harrison, who has donated blood for pregnant mothers to the Australian Red Cross Service for 60 years, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

I hope it's a record that somebody breaks, because it will mean they are dedicated to the cause.

The condition develops when the infant's mother has rhesus negative blood, and the baby inherits rhesus positive blood from the father.

Despite once being quoted as saying that he had no plans to stop donating blood, Harrison made his 1,173rd - and last - donation on Friday, at a point where he had already exceeded Australia's age limit for blood donors. If left untreated, the baby can suffer brain damage or die.

Harrison's blood is just as extraordinary as his blood donation history.

'Medications like Anti-D are a life-giving intervention for thousands of Australian mums, but they are only available because men like James give blood'.

The Blood Solution is likewise today releasing a require even more male benefactors to adhere to in Mr Harrison's footprints.

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Using plasma extracted from Harrison's blood, doctors devised the Anti-D injection, which was first given in 1967 to a pregnant woman at Australia's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

When Harrison was 14 years old, he had to have major surgery and depended on blood transfusions to live.

The woman's body responds to the RhD positive blood by producing antibodies (infection-fighting molecules) that recognise the foreign blood cells and destroy them. This medication helps remove the RHD blood cells in the fetus before it becomes sensitized.

Aside from his "man with the golden arm" moniker, James Harrison has received a number of honors through the years for his blood donation efforts.

Rhesus disease does not harm the mother, but it can cause the baby to become anaemic and develop jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).

This disease is now treatable with a medicine called anti-D immunoglobulin.


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