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After a dozen blood transfusions saved her life, this Highland mum knows more than most why donors are so important

Kate MacRae has expressed her thanks to blood donors after 12 transfusions saved her life earlier this year
Kate MacRae has expressed her thanks to blood donors after 12 transfusions saved her life earlier this year

A north mother has spoken of her gratitude and thanks after receiving blood transfusions that ultimately saved her life.

Kate MacRae, who suffered a massive postpartum haemorrhage after giving birth to baby Abigail earlier this year, has said her life was saved by 12 transfusions given by 12 different people across Scotland.

Mrs MacRae, who lives in Ardersier, has now physically recovered from the episode that resulted in her losing between 80% and 90% of her blood.

The 29-year-old accounts assistant said: “I gave birth to my second daughter in July. It was all very straight-forward and there were no complications.

“I went home and was just getting used to life as a family of four and then about a week and a half later, we were all just sitting at home on the sofa and suddenly I passed two very large blood clots, roughly the size of my fist.

“Immediately I had contractions start and it was extremely painful.

“I went to the bathroom and realised that blood was just pouring out of me.”

Urgent rush to hospital

Mrs MacRae shouted to her husband Mike who raised the alarm.

She was rushed by ambulance to Raigmore Hospital and was immediately taken into theatre.

Mrs MacRae had developed disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), a serious condition that causes abnormal blood clotting throughout the body’s blood vessels.

The condition is so serious it can cause organ failure and lead to death.

Medics battled to bring her situation under control for around three hours.

She was delivered 12 transfusions – made up of six red blood cells, four plasma and two Cryoprecipitate donations.

It is estimated that she lost between four and four-and-a-half litres of blood – 10 times more than the safe donation amount.

The MacRaes are extremely thankful to the blood donors that helped them.

She continued: “We were terrified, both my husband and I. We didn’t know what was happening.

“One thing I will never, ever forget is the look on my eldest daughter’s face. She just came running up to me and was crying ‘mummy, mummy’ and trying to hug me.

“When I got into hospital, just as they were wheeling me off to theatre, I turned to my husband and said to him; ‘tell my girls that I love them’.

“I saw the look on his face.

“He thought as well that I was going to die and I wasn’t going to come out of that theatre alive.”

Mrs MacRae remained in hospital for five days in the high dependency unit.

MacRaes thankful for donors who saved their lives

The family has expressed their sincere thanks to anyone who has donated blood.

It is the second time a donation has proven crucial to the MacRaes as Mike, who has colitis, also received a lifesaving transfusion when he was just 18.

Mrs MacRae added: “I can’t describe my gratitude.

Mrs MacRae has recovered physically and is enjoying her life as a mum of two

“Without the blood and the blood products I received, there is just no doubt that I wouldn’t be here.

“You never think it is going to happen to you or someone you love until it does.

“An hour out of your day could save a mother, a father, a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister.

“It is just such a special thing to do and it’s the best thing you could give this Christmas.”

Mr MacRae added: “It’s scary to think that if people didn’t take half an hour, 45 minutes out their day to give blood, we could be having a very different conversation.”

Things are looking brighter for the MacRae family

Mrs MacRae is currently undertaking therapy after suffering from PTSD and post-natal depression, however, has said “things are looking brighter”.

She added: “Going from one child to two, having a toddler and a baby, is difficult at the best of times and challenging anyway.

“It has been a struggle. But with the therapy and the support of my family and friends, we are definitely getting there.”

Baby Abigail is doing just fine and is being well marshalled by her big sister Hollie

Number of donors at lowest level this century

The family’s thanks comes as the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) is seeking more donors.

The number of blood donors supplying Scottish hospitals has dropped to its lowest this century.

During the pandemic, active blood donors in Scotland fell from over 105,000 to fewer than 92,000.

Currently only 3% of those who are eligible and aged between 17 and 65 in Scotland currently give blood.

The donor base has started to recover in 2021, rising to 96,000 active blood donors.

However, SNBTS is asking new donors to come forward over the festive period, or those who have got out of the habit to return and donate.

Those with either type A or type O blood types are particularly urged to donate.

Appointments can be made at www.scotblood.co.uk or by calling 0345 90 90 999

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