Welwyn man helping to save sick babies

EVERY week a midwife from the QE2 Hospital visits The Garden City Practice in WGC to give antenatal care to expectant mothers.

But unknown to them the man in charge of the surgery has helped save the lives of sick babies around Times Territory.

For practice manager Stephen Humphreys, of Digswell, has been a regular ‘whole blood’ donor for many years.

Unlike a lot of people, he has never been infected by the cytomegalovirus – a fairly common virus which most reasonably healthy people can easily fight off – and so his blood is especially useful for ill babies with their undeveloped immune systems, as well as other patients who are immunocompromised.

His donations are labeled ‘Baby Pack’.

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“I like to think that some of the new born or very poorly patients registered at The Garden City Practice sometimes get better with my blood, as well as patients registered elsewhere in Times Territory.”

And to mark Stephen having donated 100 units of whole blood he was presented with an award at a special NHS Blood Donors awards lunch.

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He said: “Giving blood is a straightforward business hardly impacting on the donor. It is just a matter of giving under an hour of one’s time and the unit of blood is soon replaced naturally.”

Donors must weigh at least 50kg, can give every 16 weeks from age 17, and, provided they give during the two years before age 65, face no upper age limit.

Fewer than one per cent of donors give as many whole blood donations as Stephen and he intends to carry on and could, in theory and if his veins hold out, live long enough (he is under 50) to double his current number of donations before he gives up on the free cup of tea.

He added: “As I have not eaten meat since I was a teenager, it also demonstrates that vegetarians can also give blood regularly.

“Giving blood helps remove excess iron from the blood and, especially in the short-term, also helps reduce blood pressure.

“Since giving blood regularly I have not needed even a day off work with any sickness.”

Further information about giving blood – including dates and venues – can be found at www.blood.co.uk or by phoning 0300 123 23 23

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