In 2018, South Texas Blood & Tissue and the region’s emergency responders joined forces to launch a program that has saved hundreds of lives across South Texas – and one that has become a gold standard for emergency responders nationwide.
The program provides specially screened whole blood for patients with severe blood loss when time is of the essence. The blood center’s part is known as Heroes in Arms.
Whole blood is meticulously stored in EMS units and helicopters in the field, as well as emergency rooms. It’s used across South Texas but comes from one place: South Texas Blood & Tissue. Blood donors ensure the program’s success.
As Heroes in Arms celebrates six years, a patient treated with the whole blood is sharing her experience in hopes of increasing blood donation nationwide.
Jennifer Brudnicki was 11 weeks pregnant when things went awry. Blood: A foreboding symptom in any pregnancy. She instantly began hemorrhaging and needed five units of blood.
“I remember struggling to not pass out and how calm the EMTs were. When I received my first transfusion I felt better, but I didn’t stop needing blood,” Jennifer said.
“Without those blood donations I would have died, along with my 11-week-old fetus. Today, I have my rainbow baby and can take care of him and my three other children as well. I will forever be thankful for blood donors who made all this possible and gave me my life back.”
Jennifer met the man who saved her life at the Heroes in Arms Anniversary celebration.
Enter George King. An 87-year-old man. Since the beginning, George has donated to Heroes in Arms. He’s a regular at South Texas Blood & Tissue’s Donor Pavilion and donated blood more than 100 times in his life.
Thousands have been saved, thanks to donors like George. And emergency providers from across the nation are looking to the whole blood collection and distribution system – the first civilian program of its kind in the United States – to save more nationwide.
Meeting one of her donors was a profound moment for Jennifer, as the two shared an emotional hug.
“I’ve never felt like this, ever,” George said.
If you have O Positive blood, you can help save lives by participating in Heroes in Arms. Find more information on the program here.