Thu, Sep 14, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Man with rare blood type makes emergency donation

TO THE RESCUE:One of only seven Taiwanese with the rare Fya blood type, the Tainan resident responded to an emergency donation request for a transfusion

By Yang Chin-cheng and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A man with a rare blood type received an emergency request to donate last week and said he was the only one in the nation available to make the donation.

Lee Pao-tung (李寶桐), a resident of Tainan’s Jiangjun District (將軍), is one of only seven people nationwide who have a rare Fya blood type, which contains special antigens, he said, adding that four of the others with the blood type were abroad at the time of the request on Thursday last week.

The other donor who was in Taiwan could not be reached, he said.

“I only had one thought in my head: This is a duty that cannot be shirked. I have to go save this person,” Lee said.

Upon receiving the request at about 6pm, Lee traveled approximately 20km to the Tainan Blood Center, where an off-duty nurse was waiting for him, he said, adding he donated 500cc of blood, which was then rushed to Chiayi Chang Gung Memorial Hospital for a transfusion.

Lee, who works as a newsprint distributor, said he began donating blood seven years ago.

Despite having donated about 20 times, he was unaware that his blood type was so rare, he said.

The rarity of his blood type became known to him in October last year, when he was first asked to make an emergency donation, he said.

However, he was unable to accommodate the first two emergency requests after having surgery for an intervertebral disc protrusion, he said.

Lee said that, especially since learning about the rarity of his blood type, he is greatly concerned about good health, which he maintains by waking early every day and exercising every evening.

Lee has received recognition for being a model worker and, concurrent with his full-time work, serves as the supervisor of affairs for Sihua community (西華).

“Only if I take care of myself will I be able to save people when the need arises,” Lee said.

Tainan Blood Center director Tsai Kuang-chao (蔡光昭) said there are 33 blood groups, with the common ones — A, B, O and AB positive — being part of one group.

The remaining 32 groups — including the C, E and Fya blood types — are rare because of the antigens they have on the surface of red blood cells, Tsai said.

RH negative is an especially rare type found in less than three people out of 1,000, while the Fya type that Lee has is even more rare, he said.

Tsai said that people with rare blood types must be particularly vigilant about avoiding accidents that might result in blood loss.

They should donate so that their blood can be stocked should an emergency arise, he said.

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