City resident thankful for donors who helped him overcome medical ordeal
Bellefontaine resident and business owner Tom Reynolds might not know their names, but said this week he is forever grateful to the 30 people who saved his life following an unusual medical trauma he encountered earlier this month.
Between hospital stays at Mary Rutan Hospital and the OSU Wexner Medical Center from Jan. 5 through 12, he required a total of 30 pints of blood, plus other blood products, to treat a perforation to his superior mesenteric artery that ran from his aorta to his colon. Today, Reynolds has recovered well and is gradually returning to his usual activities.
“It was a mighty work of God that saved my life, and the 30 people who donated the blood that I needed to make it through that ordeal,” the 78-year-old said.
The evening of Jan. 5, the city resident said he was working late by himself at his office, Reynolds & Co. Inc., 1515 S. Main St. He said he stood up to head to the restroom, and that’s when he passed out.
“I remember coming to with my two dogs licking my face,” he said, noting that he first tried to call his wife, KimberLee, who was on a Zoom conference call and couldn’t be reached immediately, and then he dialed 911.
“My glasses had been knocked off my face during the fall, so I had a hard time seeing my phone, and it took me about three tries to call 911.”
Fortunately, he was able to relay to local dispatchers that he needed help and a Bellefontaine Fire and EMS squad soon transported him to Mary Rutan Hospital, where he received several pints of blood.
While being treated at MRH, Reynolds said he had to wait until about 1 p.m. the next day until there was an Intensive Care Unit room available for him at the OSU Wexner Medical Center.
At the Columbus hospital, a total of 11 doctors worked on his case, which initially puzzled his physicians after initial scans and scopes did not show what was causing the leak and loss of blood.
Reynolds also was experiencing immense discomfort every half hour when passing melena, or tarry, bloody stools, despite not being able to eat while in this state.
However, the ingenuity of his medical staff led to the utilization of interventional radiology, a technology that is typically used with brain bleeds. Once this equipment was used, his doctors found the perforation to Reynolds’ superior mesenteric artery, or SMA.
With this information in hand, he underwent a procedure Jan. 9 that involved a catheter being inserted through his groin to the aorta to implant five platinum coils in his SMA to repair the perforation.
While Reynolds required some additional blood after that time, he said his condition quickly improved and he was able to be released from the hospital Jan. 12.
He was told by his doctors to “take it easy” while at home — something not so easy for the spry 78-year-old, who is looking forward to getting his full strength back with weekly iron infusions at Mary Rutan Hospital. Now he is utilizing his new lease on life to share the message about the importance of blood donation.
Just four days out of the hospital on Jan. 16, he provided a presentation at his church, the Middleburg United Methodist Church. He showed his congregation 10 pint containers filled with black cherry cola, representing the amount of blood in his body prior to the medical ordeal.
Then he pulled out 30 additional pint containers — also equal to 3 3/4 gallons— to show the sheer volume of blood that he received from kind strangers while in a medically fragile state. He told his fellow church members this is “life-giving blood.”
His story also is being shared around the country and internationally via social media. His son, Chicago area resident Brent Reynolds, inspired a number of colleagues and friends to donate blood in their community recently through a Facebook post. Also, Reynolds’ friend, Diana Voicu in Bucharest, Romania, shared with Reynolds via Facebook a photo of herself and her son after donating blood there.
Mark Pompilio, Community Blood Center public relations/marketing manager, said for someone donating whole blood — the most common type of donation — a phlebotomist uses a needle and tubing to draw one unit of blood (about one pint or 530 ml) from a vein in the arm, a process that takes about 10 minutes.
In addition, he explained that an automated donation of platelets, plasma or double red blood cells is a different process. Registration and screening are like whole blood donation, but the actual donation takes about one hour.
“Your blood is drawn from one arm and channeled into an automated system. It spins the blood, separating and collecting platelets or plasma, then returns all remaining blood components to you through the same needle and tubing,” Pompilio said.
Eligible individuals can whole blood every 56 days (eight weeks), platelets up to 24 times per year, and plasma every 28 days up to 13 times per year.
He and Reynolds emphasized the recent blood supply issues that have been felt around the country as a result of the pandemic. The CBC region is currently in low supply of Type O and A-negative blood, and there are critical shortages across the U.S., the CBC representative noted.
“The original goal of January National Blood Donor Awareness Month was to thank donors and encourage more donations during the winter months when the holidays, winter weather and seasonal illness make it difficult to maintain a sufficient blood supply,” Pompilio said.
“February is the heart of winter and a difficult time to hold blood drives. The traditional challenges of winter are made worse by the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many businesses and organizations are not hosting blood drives due to ongoing COVID-19 related restrictions and many employees continue to work from home. CBC is asking area business to encourage their remote workers to find a local blood drive and donate.”
The CBC depends on volunteer donors to fill the needs of 25 partner hospitals in the 15-county region and to select hospitals and blood centers outside the region. To complete this mission CBC must register approximately 300 donors per day at the Dayton CBC Donor Center and at an average of six mobile or “community” blood drives per day.
The CBC also welcomes new platelet, plasma or double red cell donors. Call (937) 461-3220 to learn how to help.
BLOOD DONOR DETAILS
Upcoming Community Blood Center blood drives in Logan County include:
• Quest Community Church, West Liberty — 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. March 16
• Mary Rutan Hospital, Bellefontaine — 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 30.
Visit www.DonorTime.com to find the location and hours of blood drives and to schedule an appointment.
In addition to whole blood donation, the following donations are needed as well:
• PLATELETS — Platelet cells form clots to stop bleeding. They help cancer, trauma, burn, and transplant patients. Men and women can donate platelets. The ideal platelet donor is blood type A, AB or B positive. You can donate platelets up to 24 times per year.
• PLASMA — Carries nutrients, blood components, and clotting factors throughout the body. Plasma helps trauma patients and people with chronic illnesses. CBC collects plasma from only male donors. The ideal plasma donor is blood type AB or B positive. You can donate plasma every 28 days up to 13 times per year.
• DOUBLE RED CELLS — Red cells carry oxygen to the organs and remove carbon dioxide. They help people who have lost blood from injury or during surgery. Men and women can donate double red cells. The ideal double red cell donor is blood type O, A negative or B negative. You must wait 112 days after a double red cell donation before donating again.