A Beautiful Connection
For Lin Xiaofen and her husband Lian Zhicheng, their love always came with a very special bond. Ever since they first met, the couple was strangely drawn to one another and as time went on that connection only grew stronger. However, it wouldn’t be until years later that both Lin and Lian realized just how special their relationship was and that Lian had played an instrumental role in Lin’s life years before.
During the 20th century, medical advancements were booming. Lives across the globe were significantly improved thanks to new procedures, one being a major breakthrough that came in 1901. This is when Austrian biologist, Karl Landsteiner discovered that blood had different types. This discovery would play a crucial role in the future of blood transfusions.
Perfecting Blood Transfusions
Prior to this discovery, scientists and medical professionals had spent years trying to perfect blood transfusions. You may be surprised to know that work on blood transfusions began way back in the 17th century under the supervision of William Harvey, an English physician who had success with blood transfusions between animals. Unfortunately, the same success when applied to humans had much more grim results.
Animal testing would continue throughout the years, and in 1667 a French physician was able to successfully transfuse sheep’s blood into a 15-year-old boy. While he continued to find moderate success, the cross-species transfusions were not well received by the medical community.
Britain and France banned animal blood transfusions as they were seen unethical, and eventually, the Vatican condemned the procedure. This would lead to a complete abandonment of blood transfusion research for nearly 150 years.
The 1818 Event
However, in 1818, Dr. James Blundell successfully carried out the first human blood transfusion. The procedure was performed on a postpartum hemorrhage patient and used her husband’s blood. Despite being seen as a huge risk, its success reignited the popularity of blood transfusions.
Highly Dangerous & Unpopular
Despite the procedure finding success, it was still considered highly dangerous and remained unpopular in the medical field. However, when Landsteiner discovered the different blood types, the procedure was deemed much safer as it was refined.
Blood Types Identified
Since the initial discovery of the ABO groups, more blood types have been identified for a total of eight. Scientists continued to perfect blood transfusions throughout the 20th century, and it was during World War I that physicians figured out how to store blood until it was needed.
First Blood Donor Organization
The first blood donor organization was founded after World War I, known as The London Blood Transfusion Service. More of these organizations would spread to other cities across the UK before moving into other countries, with the United States developing their own program in 1940.
Blood Transfusions Across the Globe
Recent statistics show that red blood cells are transfused at the rate of 85 million units per year, with the United States performing over 3 million transfusions annually. The procedure is quite common for people over the ages of 45. It’s amazing how far technology has come since the first experiments with sheep.
Quality & Safety
When it comes to blood donation and storing blood, most countries have their own safety policies to ensure quality. These national blood policies ensure that the patients on the receiving end of these transfusions have no complications. Taiwan is one of these countries that has a very strict blood policy.
Living in Taiwan
Lin Xiaofen grew up in Hsinchu, Taiwan and knows firsthand what it’s like to go through a blood transfusion. After moving from her hometown to the capital city of Taipei, she fell very ill unexpectedly. This would take her on a wild journey she could have never expected.
Collapsed & Hospitalized
It would be 2008 when Lin would unexpectedly collapse. She was immediately hospitalized and slipped into a coma. When she finally regained consciousness, the physicians explained that she had developed internal bleeding and had to receive a blood transfusion to save her life. Lin was so thankful the doctors had been diligent.
After the procedure, Lin developed blood clotting issues, which resulted in her having to receive a further two blood transfusions. Once her blood was stabilized, Lin was on the road to recovery. However, she was so thankful for the blood transfusion, without it, she most likely would have died.
Years later, Lin decided to move back to her hometown of Hsinchu to run her family’s business. It was during this time she met a rice dumpling seller named Lian. A friendship developed that soon turned into a beautiful romance. Both Lin and Lian were a match made in Heaven.
A Strange Connection
As time passed, both Lin and Lian realized they had a very strange connection that went beyond romance. According to Lin, it was almost “telepathic” in nature. But what exactly was this deeper connection?
It seemed both Lin and Lian shared a connection through blood donation of all things. A donor had helped save Lin’s life and Lian was a regular blood donor. He felt giving blood was his way of doing something positive in the world. Lian would regularly joke with Lin that he was the reason she was alive.
Who Helped Me?
Eventually, Lin grew curious about who might have been the one to save her life. She decided to investigate and went to Taiwan’s medical authorities with the hope of discovering her donor’s identity. She felt it was imperative she thanked them for giving her a new lease on life.
When it comes to donating blood, potential donors go through an assessment to determine their eligibility. If they are deemed suitable, one point of blood is collected and then sent for testing. Most donors end up with a simple identification number that links to their donation with names usually remaining anonymous.
Processing Donated Blood
When it comes to processing donated blood, it must first be tested for any type of infectious diseases. The before donation assessment usually tries to weed out potential risks, but since it’s all based on an honesty policy testing must come into play.
All diseases and abnormalities are screened for rigorously. If anything is found, the donor is usually alerted and the infected blood discarded. If the blood passes through all of the tests, it is moved into storage.
Red blood cells can be stored for up to 42 days according to the Red Cross; however, platelets are only able to be stored for up to five days. When it comes to cyro and plasma, they can be frozen for up to 12 months. It all depends on the parts of the blood and their uses.
A Neverending Process
The process is one that is continuous due to the need for blood always being on the verge of a crisis. With increased natural disasters and other tragedies across the globe, blood donation and its distribution is a process that never ends. It’s important there is always stock on hand to avoid a shortage.
Determined to Find Out
Even though Lin knew the odds of finding out the identity of her donor was slim due to all of the checks and balances in place, she was determined to find out anyway. A blood donor had saved her life and she wouldn’t find peace until she thanks them personally. Therefore, Lin continued to badger the medical authorities. Eventually, she would make a breakthrough but the findings were nothing like she expected.
Origin of a Donor
The medical authorities were able to determine that her donor was from her hometown of Hsinchu. And even more shocking, the donor was someone Lin knew…her husband, Lian. To say Lin was surprised would be an understatement. She couldn’t believe it had been him all this time.
A Shocking Discovery
Thanks to Lian’s donor identification number, the medical authorities were able to link him to her transfusion. Even the staff at the blood donation center were surprised by the coincidence. It seems that Lin and Lian were truly fated to be together.
Hoping to Save A Life
According to Lian, he had donated blood seven years before he met Lin. He revealed to the local media that his whole reason for donating was with the hopes of saving someone’s life. Never could he have predicted it would be the woman he was destined to fall in love with.
The Importance of Donation
“I urge everyone to donate blood because there is a chance that you could save your future wife,” Lian told a local website. It’s amazing how people can become connected thanks to today’s technological advancements.
Unable to Give Blood
Unfortunately for Lin, she is unable to return to the favor to someone else because transfusion recipients are not able to donate. However, that doesn’t stop her from spreading the word on the importance of blood donation. You never know whose life you could be saving.
A Fairytale Romance
Lin and Lian’s incredible romance is just one story of many. Some people may never know that the person they are in love with or friends with is someone they might have saved. A horrible tragedy almost took Lin’s life, but it was a blood transfusion that gave her the greatest gift of all, her husband. We wish them a long, and happy life together.