Grateful parents celebrate with their daughter today because platelet donors were there—at birth—when a safely-matched platelet transfusion was what it took to save her life.
“Perfect” was what Mike and Melinda were expecting as they awaited the arrival of their first child: a perfect delivery, a perfectly healthy new baby, and a perfect future together. While today this family of three celebrates the richness and joy each day brings, baby Elena’s first hours of life were anything but perfect.
Elena was born with a platelet type different from her mother’s, a conflict that resulted in Melinda’s antibodies attacking and destroying those of her newborn—essentially wiping them out. Because Elena’s platelet count was so dangerously low, multiple tests were needed to confirm a diagnosis of Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia. Elena’s platelet count had dropped to around 5,000 vs. the normal range of 250,000 – 450,000.
Within hours, Elena was transferred to Children’s Hospital and Clinics in Minneapolis for her care. “She received two separate platelet transfusions to get her numbers up to a healthy level,” Mike Perfect recalls. “She also received antibodies to get rid of the “attackers” that were killing off her platelets and restore her system’s ability to start generating her own, like everyone else does.” After several days, tests indicated that Elena’s platelets were increasing on their own. One week later, she was in the clear and discharged from the hospital with assurances to her anxious parents that there was no chance of this being an issue again.
“Platelet transfusions saved Elena’s life and helped her regain her normal platelet count,” Mike added. “And having now celebrated her first birthday, Melinda and I have much to be grateful for. We are very fortunate and blessed that there were platelet donors who gave generously for our daughter. Since Elena’s birth, I have switched from giving whole blood donations to regularly giving platelets myself so that I can help save other people’s lives. We also will be hosting annual blood drives in our neighborhood that will give our family and friends an opportunity to give the life-saving gift of blood as well.”
Watch Elena's video