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Woman saved by blood donations urges people to give as supply reaches emergency need

Meghan Jolliffe in hospital
Posted at 12:40 PM, Jul 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-31 19:28:39-04

SHAWNEE, Kan.  — A woman whose life was saved through blood donations is urging people to give as blood supply levels drop.

In Feb. 2018, Meghan Jolliffe nearly died when she suffered an amniotic fluid embolism while giving birth to her son Sullivan.

According to the Mayo Clinic, amniotic fluid embolism or AFE is a rare condition when amniotic fluid that surrounds a baby enters the mother's bloodstream.

"My heart stopped for 14 minutes, and I went into the ICU which caused me to have 109 units of blood transfused into my body over about a day to two days," Jolliffe said.

Jolliffe received over a hundred units of blood. For context, it's the same amount a single car accident victim receives according to the American Red Cross.

Her son Sullivan, also received units of blood but went seven minutes without oxygen after he was born.

"The neurologist at the time said he was brain dead for three days and he had several spots on the scan of his brain. But babies are cool and can rewire their brains," Jolliffe said.

Jolliffe and her son fully recovered and now the mom uses her time encouraging people to donate blood.

The mom's plea comes at a time when the American Red Cross is sounding the alarm on an urgent need for blood donations.

According to the American Red Cross, hospitals are seeing a high number of trauma and emergency room visits as well as patients who put off medical care early in the pandemic.

"People have to make an effort," Jolliffe said. "You have to leave your house, you have to put on a mask, you have to do other things, but it's still worth it."

Information on blood drives can be found on the American Red Cross website or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).