ASBP: Critically Ill at 3 Months Old
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Critically Ill at 3 Months Old

By Jeffery Diffy, ASBP Blood Donor Recruiter, North Chicago, Ill.
When Navy sister Gabrielle Vogel was born, she appeared well. Unfortunately, her health declined rapidly after birth and by 3 months old, her life was in jeopardy. Her mother, Theresa Vogel, recalls the events many years ago that left Gabrielle’s future in doubt. With an upcoming boot camp graduation for her sister, Seaman Recruit Meghan McRoden, things are looking up.

“Gabrielle (Gabby) was born on Oct. 30, 1998 and appeared perfectly healthy,” Theresa Vogel said. “The days following her birth, she lost considerable weight so we kind of knew something was wrong but we couldn't find anything. “It took her two months to get back to her birth weight. On Jan. 28, 1999, she went into cardiac arrest at our home. In the (emergency room), they worked diligently to get her stabilized but, at that point they didn't know what was wrong. They only knew she was extremely sick.”

Baby Gabrielle was transferred to a hospital three hours from home for further treatment. She required breathing assistance the entire trip there.

“It wasn't until around 4:30 the next morning before a cardiologist came to the family waiting room and told us what was wrong with our daughter,” Theresa Vogel said. “They put her into a medically induced coma and ventilator to allow her body to rest for the next week before they decided she was strong enough to survive open heart surgery. The four-hour surgery ended up taking eight hours because she ‘bled out’ on the table but she did survive.

“Gabby had a lot of complications following surgery including a pulmonary hemorrhage and a life-threatening reaction to a medication. She ended up being in the (pediatric intensive care unit) for over two months. Sixty of those days were on a ventilator.

“During that time, she required a lot of blood products including plasma, cryoprecipitate, red cells and platelets. According to her itemized statement, she received 55 blood products. Without the generosity of blood donors (including one in particular that became a sole source of blood for her), my daughter would not be alive today.”

“I remember staying with my grandparents while my sister was sick,” McRoden said. “I didn’t understand much of what was going on, but I did know that my baby sister had almost died.”

McRoden donated blood with the Armed Services Blood Program while in boot camp and said: “I donate today because if my sister can survive open heart surgery, I can help someone with my donation. If there’s a choice to be made between donating or someone wouldn’t be able to go home to their family, I choose donating.”

About the Armed Services Blood Program
Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States military. As a tri-service organization, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families worldwide. As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP works closely with our civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military blood collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize availability of this national treasure. To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or get the latest news, follow @militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest. Find the drop. Donate.

The Armed Services Blood Program is a proud recipient of the Army Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Public Affairs award for journalism.