The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 9, 2013

Baby Anthony’s story one of many

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — When Anthony Cartwright was born 24 weeks premature, he weighed only 1 pound, 6 ounces.

Today, Anthony weighs just over 10 pounds and is doing fine. The reason he survived is because Oklahoma Blood Institute had a sufficient blood supply to keep him alive. Anthony was so small he did not produce enough blood. Every time doctors performed a blood test to assess his condition, he had to have a transfusion to replace the blood taken.

“They had to give him a transfusion every time they gave him a blood test. They did a gas blood test twice a week, and it took so much blood — and he had so little — they had to replenish the blood,” said Karen Smith, Anthony’s grandmother.

The test involved filling a three-inch tube with blood. Doctors had to do that for two months. By that time, his iron level was improved and transfusions were no longer necessary, Smith said.

“They used a 3-inch tube and filled it. The test tells them everything they want to know, it will determine if anything is wrong,” Smith said.

Anthony was born in the neo-natal unit at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City. Anthony’s mother had pre-eclampsia, which resulted in deterioration of the umbilical cord which was dangerous for both the baby and the mother.

“Now he is 10 months old and a little butterball. Doctors say usually something is wrong at that age, but his heart is good and he is only on two machines now. Thanks to OBI, we have our little bundle of joy,” she said.

Anthony’s story is one of many Oklahoma Blood Institute sees almost daily. OBI has a goal of collecting 120 units of blood during the KATT blood drive 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Oakwood Mall.

The blood drive is part of an annual promotion by the Oklahoma Blood Institute. They will offer KATT T-shirts and OBI ball caps to donors.

OBI manager Kenda Morris said the T-shirts are “gold.”

“The biggest focus will be the time of year. Collections have not been where we would like them to be the last few weeks,” she said. “Our job is to make sure we have blood for patients at all times. It helps during challenging times of the year, we want people to make the commitment to come out Saturday.”

The first KATT blood drive was in 1985. OBI was behind in its blood supply and asked the radio station to help. That began the annual blood drives. Morris is concerned the recent Thunder blood drive may result in many of the usual donors to skip the Saturday drive.

Kristi Lester, of OBI, said as people are returning from the holidays, it is sometimes difficult to get donors and they really need them this time of year.

“We’re getting people out. This is a gift you can give people that doesn’t cost anything. It’s something you can give away free,” Lester said.

Anyone 16 and older can donate blood. Those who are 16 must have a parent present to give permission.

Lester encouraged people to try again if they were turned away because the rules have changed.