Local family knows firsthand the critical need for blood donations

Published: Feb. 2, 2022 at 11:26 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Back in January, we ran several stories about how local blood centers were critically low on blood. Their supply is back, in part, thanks to you.

Now they are asking for more donations so they can continue to save lives. We spoke to a family that has seen the shortage firsthand.

Juliet Maddox is 6 months old, and she’s spent half of her life in the hospital.

“We were originally admitted on Oct. 23 for increased work of breathing. She has heart failure from a heart defect that she has,” said Krista and Marcus Maddox, Juliet’s parents.

They told their family she would need blood frequent blood transfusions to keep her heart beating until she’s healthy enough to have surgery. However, the blood shortage threw them for a loop.

“She has received blood platelets that were positive instead of negative, so in that case, they have had to give her RhoGAM shots that have kept her from having side effects from it and rejecting the blood basically,” they said.

The side effects are tough on a baby already fighting for her life. Last month, when the shortage was critical, the hospital was having a difficult time managing the cases.

Dr. Phillip Coule, vice president and chief medical officer at the Augusta University Health System, said: “The blood supply had gotten so critically low that we were really having to scrutinize who got blood and what blood products to make certain that we were not overusing any blood products and that we were really restricting it to those who needed it the most.”

In the past few weeks, donations have increased for local blood banks like Shepeard Community Blood Center, which saw 3,700 donors in January.

Ashley Whitaker, director of community resources at Shepeard, said: “The community did come in and donate, and we had a really good January, and coming into February, we’re in a pretty good spot.”

The Maddox family says now their baby can get the blood type she needs, and she’s been less sick, but they’re hoping the donations keep coming.

“Having the right kind and knowing it’s what you need, provides you a lot of relief, and knowing that she’ll need a lot more for the bypass machine, her actual surgery during recovery, all those things. It feels good to know that it’s there when we need it,” they said.

The Maddox family encourages people to continue giving to avoid shortages in the future.

To donate, visit Shepeard Community Blood Center’s website.

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