Unusual donation at hospital saves life of Marawi woman
MARAWI CITY — Among the many stories of generosity and kindness at a hospital here, one stood out because it involved what could be a most personal donation—blood.
A doctor and staffer at Amai Pakpak Medical Center (APMC), where many of the wounded in the ongoing war in the city were being brought, donated their own blood to save a woman who was plucked out of the war zone barely alive.
Geraldine Mangotara, 38, was unconscious when she was wheeled into APMC on Tuesday.
Her wounds were already infected and had caused sepsis, a condition in which the blood is being poisoned by toxins from the infection.
“The patient was in shock,” said Dr. Hassan Mangorsi, resident surgeon.
Geraldine had a wound on the right leg which had been put in a cast after doctors thought it was fractured.
Mangorsi said Geraldine’s wounds were severely infected because they were already 20 days old. Two of the wounds were caused by bullets, said Mangorsi.
After tests, doctors concluded that Geraldine needed surgery.
It meant she would need blood as her hemoglobin count had fallen because of blood loss.
But APMC no longer had any stock of blood as its stock was spoiled when a power outage hit the city in the earlier stage of the war in Marawi.
“Blood should be stocked in controlled temperatures and we didn’t have any because of the power problem,” said Ibrahim Ampa, staff coordinator of APMC’s health emergency management services.
Supply, however, was not the only problem. Geraldine had a blood type that was hard to find: B+.
Mangorsi had the same blood type and volunteered to donate.
But at least two units were needed, an amount of blood which was more than what Mangorsi was capable of donating.
Ampa heard about Mangotara’s situation, and sharing the same type, also donated blood.
Mangorsi, with the help of other doctors, proceeded with surgery on Geraldine, which required removing dead cells and pus, and dressing the patient’s wounds. It was a life-and-death situation, said Mangorsi.
He said pus that covered the wounds made it hard for antibiotics to take effect.
“There was a possibility she would have died of infection,” Mangorsi said.
Key to the surgery was the blood from Mangorsi and Ampa, without which “the operation could not have been performed.”
The surgery was a success. Geraldine is now conscious and eating, according to Mangorsi.
He said it was unusual for doctors or hospital staffers to donate blood. But, Mangorsi said, “this is a special case.”
“How does it feel for me?” Mangorsi said. “I thank God that I was there,” he added.
Geraldine’s husband, Saipoden, was overwhelmed with joy when he learned his wife was alive.
Saipoden arrived in this city from Manila on June 2, taking a leave from businesses that he ran.
He had wanted to enter the war zone to search for Geraldine but was stopped by soldiers.
“I was telling them I was only bringing her food,” Saipoden said.
The first time Saipoden saw Geraldine on Tuesday, when she was first brought to AMPC, he became hysterical. “I felt bad that I was not able to come to her immediate rescue,” Saipoden said. —ALLAN NAWAL
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