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Family looks back one year after near tragedy, encourages blood donations

Katy Roybal was celebrating the birth of her first child when she suffered complications after childbirth and needed 22 units of blood and platelets. One year later, she and her husband are encouraging others to donate blood.
BY LEIGHANNE MANWARREN Modified: December 24, 2012 at 6:32 pm •  Published: December 25, 2012

As they celebrated the birth of their first child Dec. 22, 2011, Bryan Roybal noticed his wife, Katy, looked pale.

Hours after giving birth to daughter Jane, Katy Roybal was hemorrhaging.

“It was pretty intense from there,” Bryan Roybal said.

What was left of the new mom's blood supply was going to her brain and her heart. She needed blood. After using up all the blood products in her blood type, Katy Roybal was transferred to another hospital.

“The baby was fine. The next day, after birth, Katy was taken to another hospital and Jane had to stay at the original hospital where she was born. Myself and our families were going back and forth to both hospitals,” Bryan Roybal said.

Katy Roybal hemorrhaged a second time and had an emergency hysterectomy that saved her life.

She was given 22 units of blood plus platelets.

“I really hate to think about it, what would have happened if there hadn't been blood there. I just can't go there,” she said.

The two-week period after Christmas is the time the Oklahoma Blood Institute has a higher risk for a blood shortage statewide, OBI spokeswoman Leslie Gamble said.

“People, just like Katy Roybal, need blood 365 days a year. They don't know what to expect. It's not something that can be preplanned in most cases,” Gamble said.

OBI needs an average of 700 blood donations a day to meet the demand of the 140 medical facilities it serves in Oklahoma and to maintain a three-day supply of blood, Gamble said.

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