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.
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.