Mom, baby return to OPMC to celebrate first birthday with blood drive

By Bruce Hope bruce@opcfla.com
Posted 1/20/21

ORANGE PARK – Eliyanah Brusoe began celebrating her first birthday on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at the same place where she came into the world amidst great difficulty for both her and her mother.

The …

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Mom, baby return to OPMC to celebrate first birthday with blood drive

Posted

ORANGE PARK – Eliyanah Brusoe began celebrating her first birthday on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at the same place where she came into the world amidst great difficulty for both her and her mother.

The Orange Park Medical Center welcomed mother and daughter back with a blood drive held in the baby’s name on the birthday.

Eliyanah was born 12 weeks early and spent the next seven weeks of her life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit until she could be released. She weighed only 2 pounds, 10 ounces at birth.

The mother, Melissa, also had a rough time with the delivery.

“She was in the OR [operating room] for an emergency c-section, and then she started to have complications where she started to bleed out,” said Christy Love, an ICU registered nurse. “Mass transfusion protocol; she had over 30 units of blood. Baby went to NICU, and mom had to come to our trauma ICU.”

The massive transfusion protocol saved Melissa’s life.

Dr. Craig Sussman is a neonatologist at OPMC and a member of the team that took care of baby Eliyananh.

“Mom lost a lot of blood, and baby lost some blood as well,” Sussman said. “Eliyanah’s biggest challenge was that she was born so early. At least a couple months early. So everything about her was just immature and premature. She was just so small that she had to be in an incubator for a long period of time until she was able to be stable enough to grow. She needed blood transfusions as well.”

“It means the world to me to be here and to give back to a hospital, so many doctors and nurses that did so much, worked so tirelessly to save our lives,” Melissa said. “So to be here a year later, doing as well as we are, thanks to God putting the right people, in the right time, in the perfect place; I just can’t – It’s hard for words to describe. And all the blood that was donated to even make that possible, I mean I’d hate to of if they didn’t have the blood that they needed to save us.”

Receiving more than 30 units of blood during a life-saving surgery was no small endeavor. Many people, who Brusoe will never know, literally gave of themselves to give others the gift of life.

“I would not be here to enjoy celebrating my sweet girl’s first birthday if they had not donated blood,” she said. “They’ll never know the extent of what their gift- their donation did. My oldest is 24, and she gets married next month. And I get to be there to see her get married.”

The blood drive took place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in a mobile donation center in front of the hospital’s main entrance.

“It means so much that they were willing to put this together and do this drive,” Brusoe said. “It’d mean so much more if it was a packed bus, I guess, how you would say it, that they were able to replace all the blood that we used and just so much more to help others because you just don’t know what people are needing and going through so they too can celebrate more milestones and happy birthdays with their families because of the donations.”

Lifesouth Community Blood Centers facilitated the drive in conjunction with OPMC.

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