Jacob Allen, born Nov. 8, 2012, was diagnosed with hereditary spherocytosis (HS), a disorder of the red blood cells, at birth. At two weeks of age, Jacob was treated with a blood transfusion at Ball Memorial Hospital, in Muncie, Ind.
HS is a genetic disorder usually passed down from parent to child and is characterized by abnormal red blood cells, or spherocytes. The spherocytes are round red blood cells that are unusually fragile and rigid.
Patients with HS benefit from transfusion in two ways.
- They are supplied with an adequate number of red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues.
- They are given red blood cells with the ability to change shape and easily pass through the smallest blood vessels of the circulation.
Oxygen is then carried efficiently to all tissues and organs of the body, including the heart, kidneys and brain.
Prior to the transfusion, Jacob’s toes and nails were very white due to the anemia brought on by HS. Fortunately, following the transfusion his color was quickly restored. “After about an hour he was nice and pink,” said Dorothy Allen, Jacob’s grandmother and Indiana Blood Center phlebotomist.
Dorothy is grateful for all the Hoosiers who took time to donate blood. Because of them, “Jacob’s doing really well.”
Dorothy encourages everyone to donate blood, if eligible. “It could be your blood that saves my little grandbaby,” said Dorothy.