UAE: Blood donation helps critically ill woman deliver baby safely in Abu Dhabi

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi Filed on June 19, 2021
Photo: AFP

She'd been diagnosed with a form of thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder that causes a shortage of haemoglobin in the body.

A pregnant patient diagnosed with a rare form of thalassemia had a safe delivery in Abu Dhabi — thanks to blood donors and the medical team who found units compatible with her rare profile.

K.A.B. was diagnosed with a form of thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder that causes a shortage of haemoglobin in the body. Following bariatric surgery, she was found to have iron deficiency, worsening her condition and requiring her to have 4-5 blood transfusions a year for 10 years.


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With an extremely rare type of antibodies in her body caused by her condition, it became increasingly difficult for her to find suitable blood, even from her siblings.

However, the medical team at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) — comprising Dr Shahrukh Hashmi, department chair of hematology and oncology; Dr Hiba AlHumaidan, consultant pathologist and transfusion medicine lead; and Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Services (ADBBS) — tested hundreds of units from hundreds of donors to identify two units compatible with her rare profile.

This was done as a preparation for any emergency that might occur during childbirth — either for her or the unborn baby.

The doctors were also prepared to use the cell salvage machine — a unique solution that involves having the patient’s blood collected, filtered, washed and recirculated back to her.

Fortunately, K.A.B. had a safe delivery and expressed her deep gratitude for the blood donors and medical team.

“Thanks to the diligence of both ADBBS and SSMC staff, and their quick thinking to find me a solution before my delivery, I was able to get through delivery safely. I am so grateful for the people with my rare blood type who donated. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for them,” said K.A.B. during an event hosted by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) in collaboration with ADBBS and SSMC to honour regular donors and companies for encouraging their workforce to donate.


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“I heartily encourage others to regularly donate and contribute to saving lives,” K.A.B. added.

Dr Naser Ammash, chief executive officer, SSMC, pointed out: “As part of our commitment to serve the needs of our patients at all times, we are working closely with our colleagues at Seha and ADBBS to ensure our patient’s needs for blood and blood components are seamlessly met.”


Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.

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