2 minute readBlood

 A Family Shares the Emotional Journey of a Postponed Open-Heart Surgery

Jacqueline smiling and flexing her arms.

Jacqueline Rogers was Eight Years Old when her Surgery was Postponed due to a Blood Shortage

Our daughter was only two days old when she underwent her first open-heart surgery. At a time when most new parents would be leaving the hospital, my husband and I were watching Jacqueline recover from a major surgery. Since then she has had one additional open-heart surgery and four heart catherizations, which is a procedure that examines how well your heart is working, helps identify heart problems and allows for procedures to open blocked arteries.

Jacqueline underwent her second open-heart surgery when she was eight years old. We remember how we were getting on the elevator early in the morning, heading to the surgical floor when my husband and I got a phone call on our cell. It was the doctor calling to tell us that Jacqueline’s surgery had to be canceled because there was a shortage of O negative blood. We were all in total shock! We never imagined that a lack of blood could cause a child’s surgery, our child’s surgery to be canceled in a big city like Boston. Her surgery was rescheduled and eventually took place once there was enough blood in the hospital’s inventory, but that experience left our family with a feeling of fear that will never go away. We are always worried that the lack of blood could cancel another surgery. Our daughter will need more open-heart surgeries in the future; it’s just a fact surrounding her heart condition. With so many things to worry about leading up to that time, no parent should have to also be concerned about whether the blood supply their child needs will be available.

Jacqueline shares her story on TODAY Show with Savannah Guthrie and Jenna Bush Hager.

It was hard to hear our daughter express how frightened she was and know that we couldn’t do anything to change what was happening. Now that Jacqueline is 14, it’s interesting to hear how she felt that day. Her story is below. Please read it and consider donating blood today.

I have always enjoyed being active, but had to be careful when choosing activities to join because of my heart condition. I cannot play contact sports or ever ride roller coasters, but really love to dance, do gymnastics, swim and play golf. I can do these things because of the open-heart surgery I had when I was eight years old. Even though my surgery helped me to be able to enjoy normal activities for people my age, it was a very scary experience. I remember having to stay germ free before my operation and had to stay away from a lot of my family and friends. On the morning of my surgery I was scared to death and ready to get it over with so I could get back to enjoying normal parts of my life again. Having my surgery canceled because blood wasn’t available had never crossed my mind. When my parents got the call from my doctor saying they had to cancel, I thought that meant that I was going to die. I was only eight and didn’t know what that meant for me and for my life. I remember my mom being frantic while my dad tried to keep me calm and explain what was happening.

I was so thankful to have my parents with me in that moment and don’t know what I would have done without them. My mom never left the hospital during my surgery and always slept in my room, so I wouldn’t be afraid, and my dad would keep me laughing by doing and saying silly things.

Now life is good – I am on a dance team and like to swim in my new pool and hot tub! I can enjoy time with my family, my dog and friends because of all the blood donors that saved my life. You can save a life too through blood donation. To learn more about blood donation or to make an appointment click here.

The Rogers family.