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WATCH: Inverness family which owes its very being to lifesaving blood tranfusions helping spearhead Scotland campaign for new donors with the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS)

By Val Sweeney

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An Inverness family has spoken out after it was revealed Scottish hospitals are currently supplied by the smallest pool of blood donors this century.

Kate MacRae (29) husband, Mike (35), live in Ardersier with daughters four-month-old Abigail and two-year-old Hollie.

Mrs MacRae, an accounts assistant for Arnold Clark, almost died after suffering a massive postpartum haemorrhage after giving birth to Abigail earlier this year.

Her life was saved by 12 transfusions given by 12 different people across Scotland.

Mr MacRae, who has colitis, also received a lifesaving transfusion when he was 18.

They say without blood donors, there would be no MacRae family.

The MacRae family.
The MacRae family.

They are now backing the recruitment drive by the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) which revealed Scottish hospitals are currently supplied by the smallest pool of blood donors this century.

Mrs MacRae said: "We just want to say thank you to everyone who gives blood, in particular the people who gave blood for Mike, and the 12 people who gave blood and blood products for me.

"I lost nearly all the blood in my body, there’s no doubt that without those people my children wouldn’t have a mother, and my husband wouldn’t have a wife.

"It’s the best thing you could give this Christmas."

She recalled how a week-and-half after having Abigail she was settling into the routine of family life when out of the blue she passed two large blood clots.

"All of a sudden, I was in a lot of pain and feeling dizzy," she said. "I went to the bathroom and realised I was pouring with blood."

Mr MacRae called the ambulance and she was rushed to hospital where she was taken into theatre.

"As I was wheeled into theatre, I told Mike to tell my girls I loved them," she reflected.

"I thought I was going to die and I could tell by looking at his face, he thought the same thing."

Mrs MacRae spent three hours under a general anaesthetic as medical staff battled to stop the bleeding and as her condition deterioriated, she developed a life-threatening condition, Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation.

But thanks to the efforts of staff and 12 tranfusions of blood and blood products, including plasma, she survived and after spending five days in the high dependency unit was able to go home.

Physically she is okay but says mentally it has been difficult and is having therapy for post traumatic stress and post natal depression while the support of family and friends is also helping.

But she remains grateful to those donors who helped save her life.

"No words can describe my gratitude," she said.

"Without donors my family would not exist."

Mr MacRae said: "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."

Dr Sylvia Armstrong-Fisher, of the SNBTS said during the pandemic, NHS Scotland relied on commitment from existing donors who gave very regularly.

"We’d like to thank all of these people who supported us at such an important time," she said.

"However, alongside the natural lifecycle of blood donors retiring every day, this led to the community of active donors shrinking to its lowest level since records began.

"We need to welcome 3300 donors per week to ensure blood supplies remain at safe levels and, with fewer people donating regularly, we want to welcome 50 new or returning blood donors every single day over the festive and winter period."

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