BILLERICA, Mass. — Eight-year-old Jacqueline Rogers of Billerica needs those with O negative blood to consider donating at Boston Children’s Hospital so that doctors can operate on her heart, news partner Wicked Local reports.
Watch NewsCenter 5’s report
According to her mother Valerie, Jacqueline’s open heart surgery, scheduled for Friday, was postponed due to a shortage of O negative blood at the hospital, the only blood type her body can receive
“We were going up to the third floor in the hospital this morning and my husband got a call on his cell phone at 6 a.m. saying there was not enough blood to safely operate on Jacqueline,” said Valerie Rogers on Friday afternoon. “We never even thought this would be an issue. It didn’t even cross my mind, especially living in Boston.”
“I knew she could only take blood from O negative,” said Valerie. “But a shortage never even crossed our minds. We just had a pipe burst and were worried about that and germs in school given that it is flu season. We were not worried about a shortage.”
According to the hospital’s blood donor center website, “Boston Children’s Hospital is experiencing a shortage of O negative blood and has extended the blood donor center’s hours on Sunday, Jan. 19 to take donors until 5:30 p.m.”
O negative blood types are universal donors but those with O negative blood can only receive that type.
Valerie was told by doctors Friday morning that an emergency occurred overnight that diminished the hospital’s O negative supply.
“I am happy that they had the blood to save someone’s life but can’t believe there is no more blood for my daughter,” Valerie said. “There is a real need for O negative blood donors. We hope that we can increase awareness for the donation of blood.”
“I am sure we were not the only O negative surgery that was canceled,” Valerie added.
Valerie, who has O negative, donated at the hospital’s blood donor center before leaving Boston Friday morning. She added that some moms from Billerica, who heard of their plight, also drove into Boston and donated Friday morning.
Jacqueline was diagnosed with complex congenital heart defects in utero. She underwent her first open heart surgery at two days old at Boston Children’s Hospital. Since then she has endured seven surgeries and hospitalizations. Jacqueline will require a lifetime of monitoring and surgeries. With this surgery next week, Valerie said, doctors are “hoping to put an adult-size catheter in her heart this time.”
The Rogers family was mentally and physically prepared for the surgery. The family had rented a hotel room across the street from the hospital for the week to be close to their daughter. They completed all of the pre-op tests. Jacqueline was all dressed up in an outfit covered with hearts, an outfit her mother put together to get her mind off of the surgery.
Valerie said her daughter was upset at first when she heard of the postponement.
“But she rolls with the punches,” Valerie said. “She is doing OK and knows that she will be going in next week. She knows that her heart will be fixed again.”
The Kennedy Elementary School third grader is very active and loves to dance, swim, and do gymnastics. All of that is on hold until after her surgery, which has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 22. The surgery is expected to take six to eight hours.
Jacqueline will spend seven to 10 days in the hospital following the surgery. Then she will be home for a couple of weeks and without activities for an additional four to six weeks.
“Everything is on hold – her swimming, dance, fun club at the Boys and Girls Club, gymnastics,” said Valerie.
The Boston Children’s Hospital Blood Bank is located at 333 Longwood Ave., across the street from the hospital. The bank has extended its Sunday hours this weekend – accepting donors from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. – in hopes of getting more donations.
Walk-ins are welcome but appointments are recommended. Call 617-355-6677 or book online at http://www.halfpints.childrenshospital.org.
The hospital also has a Bloodmobile that goes to different locations every weekend. This Saturday the Bloodmobile is in Stoughton.