Monday, September 27, 2010

Teamwork in the Middle of the Night, by Noemi Rabina

I worked night shift in an American Hospital in Manila, Philippines. I was expecting another long quiet night, but anything unexpected can happen even in the middle of the night.

There was a lady who had an emergency Caesarean Section in the afternoon. She was already resting in bed when I came. I noticed that her dressing was soaked with blood. I tried to change it and noticed that blood was oozing from the incision. Immediately her doctor was summoned who came without delay. The patient was brought back to OR.

The doctor tried to resuture the wound but for every stitch that he made, it became another source of bleeding. He made the conclusion that the patient had a blood disorder, a failure of blood to clot. He ordered all off duty doctors to come and help for the patient was already going into shock. Some were calling other hospitals and emergency units for blood, which was very rare type "AB" and for the medicine "Protamine" that will facilitate the clotting of blood. Red Cross and major pharmacies were closed at this time of the night.

The surgeon was saying, "We need blood! We need blood!" The OR nurses passed the word to those who were circulating outside the Operating Room. But there was no blood available. The patient was in desperate need of blood. I volunteered to give my blood since I am type "O," a universal donor. The doctor said, "OK.
X-match, if compatible, give blood."  And it was compatible.

I lay down and they came with big needles, massaged my arm and squeezed the blood from my veins. I had been poked several times and was able to fill only half of the bag. Immediately, it was transfused to the patient, but it was only like a drop in a bucket. She continued to bleed, and bleed, and bleed. Her blood was dripping from the OR table to the floor. They caught it in a sterile container and infused back to her.

We had done everything possible under human power and it was only a matter of time and the patient would be gone. . Frustrated, the doctor asked, "Has the husband been notified?" The forgotten husband was then called. When he arrived, he was allowed to be with his wife while the doctor explained all that has transpired.

Finally, somebody got hold of the US Air Force, about 100 miles away and the response was good. "Yes, we have the blood and the medicine and we will bring them by helicopter." In less than an hour, they were there. After the transfusion was started and the medicine given by IV, the bleeding ceased.

I was sure that everyone was praying all that time for if it were not for the Divine intervention, all efforts could have failed. The patient lived her new life.


  1. Noemi this was an amazing story of a life saved and to think that you were a part of saving her life for if she had not had your blood before the rest came she may have died. Of course we know God is ultimately in control.

  2. Dear Noemi, You are a hero. You have made your mark on the world through your caring and sacrifices. I'm soooooo glad that you are writing your memoirs, because you will leave an honorable legacy.

  3. HI Noemi,
    Another heroic story. How lucky for the patient that your blood was compatible. Hope she knew you saved her life - with the help of divine intervention of course. I do enjoy all your nursing stories probably because I wanted to be a nurse myself.

  4. I would want you to be my nurse anyday. You've acheived a lot with God's blessings.