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Bloodrunners need to recruit more volunteers to help save babies lives

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SERV – The Emergency Blood Transport Charity who already provide an emergency out of hours blood transport service, free of charge to local hospitals (including Northampton & Kettering General) and more recently rolled out their service transporting life saving donated breast milk to the Human Milk Banks, have now been asked to extend its service to include transporting urgent samples to Birmingham to test for a condition that can be potentially fatal to an unborn child.   Karen Spreckley - Blood Transfusion Laboratory Manager, Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust explains; “Northampton General Hospital processes all the blood group and antibody, and infectious disease screening antenatal  work for the whole of the East Midlands population. Now whilst this screening work is routine initially, it sometimes throws up the fact that a woman has a red cell antibody (about 3% of all cases) that can adversely affect her baby (worst case scenario is death of the baby). Where certain types of these antibodies exist – Anti-D or Anti-c, we have to send the samples to the Blood Service in Birmingham for additional testing, and this all has to be done quickly in order that the mother and baby can be treated if required”   Haemolytic disease of the newborn is a condition where antibodies in a pregnant woman’s blood can attack her baby's blood cells.

Haemolytic disease of the newborn, caused by Anti-D is usually the most severe form, but this can be prevented with an injection of anti-D immunoglobulin during pregnancy and at delivery. This scheme has reduced the number of cases of Haemolytic disease of the newborn, caused by Anti-D in the UK, by 90%. The injection is given to women with Rhesus negative blood and prevents the woman developing the Anti-D antibodies that can attack the baby’s blood.

If Haemolytic disease of the newborn is left untreated, the effects can be jaundice in the newborn baby which can lead to learning difficulties, deafness, and blindness and in severe cases death, either before birth, or shortly afterwards.   SERV expect to carry out over 1,000 life saving runs in this region throughout 2011, however demand on the service could dramatically increase by 50% as result of these runs to Birmingham.

The charity is looking for riders or drivers who hold or are working towards an advanced riding/driving qualification.

SERV also needs to raise funds to purchase an additional dedicated emergency response bike to help meet the increased demand.

A dedicated response bike costs around £7,000 to purchase and a further £3,000 per year, a dedicated response car costs £3,000 to set up + £3,400 per annum lease

If you are able to give just 3-4 evenings or a weekend per month as a rider/driver/controller or fundraiser or are able to help with funding please contact SERV’s publicity officer Danny Bateman - [email protected] or visit www.serv.org.uk for more details.

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