May 19th, 2018| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


Hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN) is a condition when a woman with Rh– blood becomes pregnant with a baby with Rh+ blood. This incompatibility, though not dangerous for the first pregnancy, can be lethal for the next Rh+ baby she might have.

To prevent this, if the mother is given specific antibodies (anti-D), these would prevent her from being primed to create destructive antibodies that would be deadly for the next Rh+ baby.

But for this you need to isolate anti-D from the blood of someone making a lot of it. That’s where James Harrison came in. In Australia.

Jemma Falkenmire, of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service:

In Australia, up until about 1967, there were literally thousands of babies dying each year, doctors didn’t know why, and it was awful. Women were having numerous miscarriages, and babies were being born with brain damage.”

Researchers scoured blood banks to see whose blood might contain anti-D and James Harrison was it! In his teens he had received large quantities of blood during a surgery to remove a lung and, perhaps as a result, had been making anti-D in large amounts in his blood.

Said Harrison:

They asked me to be a guinea pig, and I’ve been donating ever since. Never considered stopping.”

Every two weeks. For sixty years! Yielding millions of anti-D injections. Australian Red Cross estimates Harrison has helped save 2.4 million babies in the country.

Robyn Barlow, the Rh program coordinator who found Harrison:

Every ampule of Anti-D ever made in Australia has James in it. He has saved millions of babies. I cry just thinking about it.”

Even though Harrison doesn’t think much about it, others do. He acquired the nickname “Man with the Golden Arm,” was the recipient of the nation’s Medal of the Order of Australia, and found his picture on the cover of his local Yellow Pages. Oh, and he also landed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the maximum number of blood donations by a single individual: 1173!

He even saved the lives of his own grandchildren!

Said Harrison’s daughter, Tracey Mellowship, who needed an anti-D injection in 1992 after her first baby:

To say I am proud of James (my Dad) is an understatement. Thanks to Dad I then gave birth to another healthy boy in 1995. … Thank you, Dad, for giving me the chance to have two healthy children — your grandchildren. XXX!”

The other day, he made his final trip to the blood donation center. 81 years old, already well beyond the age limit for donors, Harrison’s doctors advised him to stop.

As he sat in the blood donor’s chair, four silver balloons with the numbers 1, 1, 7, and 3 hovered over him. Several parents and their babies Harrison had saved were in attendance,

Robyn Barlow was there, too:

We’ll never see his kind again. That he has been well and fit and his veins strong enough to continue to donate for so long is very, very rare.”

Someone else did that. Once for all time, for all people!

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses,
according to the riches of His grace which he lavished on us.

Ephesians 1:7–8

[We were] not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold …
but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

1 Peter 1:18–19

To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood …
to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen!

Revelation 1:5–6

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