[KHTS] – The UCLA Blood and Platelet Center in Los Angeles collects about 30,000 blood and platelet donations each year. A Valencia lawyer and mother of two was given the opportunity to thank seven of those blood donors who saved her life.
Jennifer Calderon, 34, lost nearly all of her body’s blood supply when she underwent an high-risk Cesarean section at UCLA in April, but thanks to Dr. Tina Nguyen and 24 units of blood donated by seven different donors, she survived and was able to go home after two weeks in the hospital.
Jennifer Calderon | Photos via KHTS
Calderon and her husband Dustin Schumuldt, along with their children Charlie, 3, and Henry, 9 months, attended the annual Blood Donor Recognition Luncheon on Friday, where Calderon had the chance to thank Rich McAndrews, Mary Chuhinko, Ricardo Barboza and Linda Hashi, among the other donors.
Ranging in age from 19 to 60, the group hails from throughout the Los Angeles region and spans the spectrum in terms of ethnicity, occupation, religion and gender. Many have given platelets and blood dozens of times, with one donating platelets 80 times.
The fourth annual luncheon focused on OB-GYN patients, but UCLA spokeswoman Elaine Schmidt said that the past events have highlighted different departments, places where blood donations are needed regularly.
Calderon had struggled with bleeding during much of her pregnancy, Nguyen said at Friday’s luncheon, and when she went in for a C-section at eight months, it continued to be an issue.
“Anticipating that Jennifer might need blood products, I asked for blood and it arrived within 10 minutes,” Nguyen said. “Having those products so readily available saved her life.”
Patients do not typically get to meet their blood donors because of medical confidentiality, but Schmidt said that UCLA highlights a patient every year, and Calderon and the donors gave permission for their names to be released.
Nguyen said that she couldn’t have saved Calderon without their contribution.
“As a surgeon, there is only so much operating I can do without blood products,” she said. “When it comes to our pregnant patients, your donations are even more precious because of the circumstances surrounding the need.”