Long-time donors make Molly’s day

DAILY GRIND NZ Blood nurse Molly Roberts chat­ted to re­porter Rose Caw­ley about the life-sav­ing ser­vice and ded­i­cated donors like long-timer Neil Bourchier.

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Nurse Molly Roberts has a steady hand.

She has to be­cause ev­ery work­day she takes a nee­dle and gen­tly in­serts into some­one’s arm.

Roberts has been work­ing at New Zealand Blood Ser­vice for five years.

She knows the the ser­vice inside and out.

‘‘Safety is our cor­ner­stone,’’ she says.

‘‘We are re­spon­si­ble to and for the pub­lic – it is our job to pro­vide a safe blood prod­uct and ef­fi­cient blood ser­vice for New Zealan­ders.’’

The Botany res­i­dent says try­ing to min­imise dis­com­fort is one of the chal­lenges of the job.

‘‘You don’t want to see some­one in pain, so you want to get the nee­dle in the first time,’’ she says.

‘‘Even when you can see they’ve found it hard, maybe felt faint, they come back.

‘‘That is in­spir­ing to see be­cause with­out them those peo­ple in hos­pi­tal wouldn’t be sur­viv­ing.’’

Roberts says the num­ber of plasma donors needed has been in­creas­ing ev­ery year be­cause of the grow­ing de­mand for blood prod­ucts made from it.

‘‘Plasma do­na­tions can be used to make up to 13 dif­fer­ent prod­ucts like im­munoglob­u­lin, which has the in­fec­tion-fight­ing an­ti­bod­ies to pro­tect pa­tients from dis- eases like tetanus, chicken pox and hep­ati­tis B.’’

Once the plasma is col­lected from New Zealand donors it is sent to Aus­tralia to be con­verted to those prod­ucts.

‘‘New Zealand is too small to have a man­u­fac­turer but the prod­uct is still 100 per cent Kiwi.’’

Around 42,000 pa­tients are treated with blood or blood prod­ucts in New Zealand each year which is equiv­a­lent to the ca­pac­ity of Eden Park.

She says it is a priv­i­lege to get to know long-time donors like Neil Bourchier, who make the ser­vice pos­si­ble.

Bourchier has do­nated over 320 times and now a thick layer of scar tis­sue sits over the veins on both of his in­ner el­bows.

The Herne Bay res­i­dent be­gan donat­ing in 1985 and now he fits in donat­ing plasma around ev­ery two weeks about his sched­ule as man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of a sup­ply chain con­sult­ing firm,

‘‘Pain­less prob­a­bly isn’t the best word to de­scribe it but it is a very easy and sim­ple thing to do for the greater good of the com­mu­nity,’’ Bourchier says.

When he comes in greet him by name.

He makes for his favourite bed right by the tele­vi­sion and set­tles in for the process which can take up to an hour.

For plasma do­na­tions the blood is sep­a­rated into its var­i­ous com­po­nents in an aphere­sis ma­chine, and the parts that are not needed are re­turned to the pa­tient through the same nee­dle.

Bourchier says de­vel­op­ments in tech­nol­ogy have made the process much eas­ier.

‘‘The ma­chines were ar­chaic. You would see the blood spin­ning off and go­ing back into you. It was a bit more graphic, so it wasn’t ev­ery­one’s cup of tea.’’



Life sav­ing: Donor Neil Bourchier holds up the plasma which has just been sep­a­rated from his blood with NZ Blood nurse Molly Roberts.

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