Great Things Happen at the American Red Cross

January 7, 2010
Great things happen at the American Red Cross and this is one more wonderful example of the job well done. Recently we participated in providing needed blood to a patient. The African American woman was seen in a northeast Arkansas emergency room for symptoms related to a history of vomiting large amounts of blood (hematemesis).   Finding a low hematocrit the ER physician ordered the immediate transfusion of two units of blood while a type could be completed. 
After several attempts the hospital was unable to successfully type the patient and contacted the Greater Ozarks-Arkansas (GOAR) reference laboratory for assistance in resolving the ABO discrepancy. The rush services needed were assigned to Kelley Garner, MT(ASCP) who completed the preliminary testing. In collaboration with GOAR Immunohematology Reference Lab Manager Brenda Hayes, MT(ASCP)SBB additional testing was performed in an attempt to address the inconsistent findings.   After developing a possible answer they sought additional testing at the American Red Cross Molecular Lab in Philadelphia, PA. There, the molecular testing confirmed the ABO typing scenario developed in the region lab and further confirmed their discovery of a new B subgroup. 
Dr John Theus, Division Medical Director said, “This is an extremely rare occurrence and this discovery led to a better understanding of blood group systems”.   
Kelley presented the scenario at the AABB annual meeting to be held in New Orleans October 24-27, 2009. The results were printed in Transfusion (Sept 2009 Vol 49 No 3S). There is great excitement in the GOAR team at the success of our Reference Laboratory teammates. It is easy to focus on the daily collections and recruiting activities. We should always recognize the lab staff and their significant role in making sure we meet our commitments to the community and our customers. They also are a noteworthy part of our long history of adding to the body of science critical to blood banking operations….all while never losing sight of the service rendered to a very nice lady who now can mend and be better prepared for any future illness she might experience.
Dr. John Theus, M.D.; Kelly Garner (wearing the green gloves) and Brenda Hayes - the puzzle solvers.