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Man With The Golden Arm Whose Blood Saved Millions Of Babies' Life

By Nenad Dojcinovski, 21 May 2018

The “man with the golden arm” sounds like a super-hero who emerged from the sky to save us all in a moment of suffer. Well, that’s not really the case. This old man didn’t emerged from the sky, and his hand isn’t really golden. But he did saved 2.4 million babies by donating blood every week for 60 years.

1The Man With The Golden Arm with the babies he saved

Which means he is a hero, but not as recognizable as those we see in the movies. He doesn’t fly, and he doesn’t wear a suit. But he is a hero!

James harrison the superhero

Image Source: factsherald.com


2The real super-hero of this World

81-year-old James Harrison from Australia is restoring faith in humanity all over the world. He had a major chest surgery when he was only 14-year-old. Young James was hospitalized for 3 months and he had one lung removed during the operation.

James Harrison

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3James Harrison survived an operation thanks to a blood transfusion

It was a difficult operation indeed, but James managed to recover. But his journey to becoming the “man with the golden ram” started when he found out that the reason why he survived the operation is because he received a large quantity of transfused blood.

James Harrison survived an operation

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4The turning point in his life

This was the turning point in James’s life. This is when he pledged to himself to always donate blood to whom so ever required it. You have to be 18-years-old to be a blood donor in Australia, which means he had to wait 4 more years.

James Harrison in hospital

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5James’s blood was special

And as soon as James became a donor, the doctors realized that James’s blood can solve a painful problem.

James’s blood was special

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6He was more than happy to donate his blood and help with finding a cure

“In Australia, up until about 1967, there were literally thousands of babies dying each year, doctors didn’t know why, and it was awful,” Jemma Falkenmire of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service told CNN. “Women were having numerous miscarriages and babies were being born with brain damage.”

Australian of the year

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7Dealing with the Rhesus disease

Doctors didn’t know how to deal with Rhesus disease (where the pregnant woman’s blood starts attacking her own unborn baby’s cells.) in 1967. The disease occurs when the baby has rhesus-positive (RhD positive) and the pregnant woman has rhesus-negative (RhD negative).

Dealing with the Rhesus disease

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8The antibody was discovered in James’s blood

In this case, the mother’s body may produce antibodies that could destroy the baby’s blood cells. James’s blood was exactly what the doctors need to deal with the disease. As it turns out, his blood contains a rare antibody to develop an injection called Anti-D.

Antibody was discovered in Jamess blood

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9He was one in a million indeed

This injection is used to prevent mothers developing RhD antibodies during their pregnancy. But although thankful for James’s contribution, the doctors have no idea why he has such rare blood type.

Australian red cross

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10An accident or destiny?

There are around 50 people in Australia with such a rare blood type. The blood transfusion James received at the age of 14 could be the reason why his blood contains the precious antibodies.

An accident or destiny

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11James’ blood is particularly extraordinary

“Every bag of blood is precious, but James’ blood is particularly extraordinary <…>. Every batch of Anti-D that has ever been made in Australia has come from James’ blood.” Falkenmire said.


Image Source: www.9news.com.au

12James saved a lot of lives

“And more than 17% of women in Australia are at risk, so James has helped save a lot of lives.” Or about 2.4 million, to be precise.

James saved a lot of lives

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13He returned the favor!

The man who survived thanks to blood transfusion is responsible for saving millions of babies. He is indeed a hero and a much-needed example in this world.

James Harrison man with golden arm

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141173 plasma donations in his life!

James has donated nearly 1173 plasmas in his life (1163 from his right hand and 10 from his left hand). “It becomes quite humbling when they say, ‘oh you’ve done this or you’ve done that or you’re a hero,’” Harrison told CNN. “It’s something I can do. It’s one of my talents, probably my only talent is that I can be a donor.

James Harrison 1173 plasma donations

Image Source: independent.co.uk

15He’s surely more than just a guinea pig

 “They asked me to be a guinea pig, and I’ve been donating ever since,” the hero told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I’d keep on going if they’d let me.”

James Harrison guinea pig

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