James Harrison was born in 1936. At the age of 13, he underwent major chest surgery, requiring 12 litres of blood. After surgery, he was in the hospital for three months. Realising the blood had saved his life, he made a pledge to start donating blood as soon as he turned eighteen, the then required age.
Mr. Harrison started donating in 1954 and after the first few donations it was discovered that his blood contained an unusually strong and persistent antibody called Rho(D) Immune Globulin. Rho(D) IG is given to Rh(D) negative mothers of unknown or Rh(D) positive babies during and after pregnancy to prevent the creation of antibodies to the blood of a Rh(D) positive child. This antigen sensitization and subsequent incompatibility phenomenon causes Rhesus disease, the most common form of hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN).
Through the donations of his plasma, Mr. Harrison helped prevent thousands of…
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