Miles City Woman Grateful for Blood Donations that Saved Her Life

Adrian Davis is a name that many people are familiar with in eastern Montana. As a mother of three children, her natural passion is her family, which she has worked diligently to teach solid values.

“Any time I am involved in giving back, I always bring my family,” she said. “I want to instill in them the importance of helping others and being part of the community.”

Davis’ involvement with the people around her has created many connections, not only in Miles City, but the greater part of eastern Montana. After moving to Miles City two years ago when her husband took a job with the fire department, she herself took a part-time position as an EMT, thus giving her even more opportunity to provide care and make a positive impact on people’s lives. Outside of her work, she has also helped organize three community blood drives with the local fire department. Little did she know, she would soon be on the receiving end. 

In early December of 2019, Davis underwent a routine surgery at Holy Rosary Healthcare. As she recovered in the hospital following the procedure, Davis experienced a rare complication as a result of the surgery.

“I started having a weird feeling near my liver and when I touched that area, there was pain upon palpation,” she said. “I just knew something wasn’t right.”

Davis’ doctor discovered she was suffering from a rare type of internal bleeding. Time was of the essence as Holy Rosary’s team worked to save her life and get her the blood that she needed.

“My platelet levels had dropped to 20 and my hemoglobin was at 4,” she said.
For a woman of her size, normal platelet levels usually sit around 150, and hemoglobin levels are usually around 12.

“My blood pressure at one point was 40/30. My surgical team, along with my coworkers at Miles City Fire, was contacting all flight teams in the area to get me to Billings where they had more blood and platelets in supply,” Davis explained. 

Davis was depleting the supply at Holy Rosary and, at that particular time, there was not a flight team available. Traveling by road was a life-threatening option due to the limited blood supply;  there was not enough blood to continue transfusions throughout the entire trip.

Fortunately, the frantic calls were answered and a flight team was available. A team from Black Hills, South Dakota was available to transport her, but they were two hours away. Davis, her husband, and her family patiently waited for the plane to arrive.

“The pilot looked me in the eyes and promised that they were going to take care of me,” she said.

The flight team brought the necessary platelets and blood supply to help her sustain life for the entirety of the trip.

Upon arrival, she was swarmed by a team in the emergency department and quickly taken to an operating room for emergency surgery. 

“I know God was with me,” she said. “That’s why I am here today.”

All together, she was given 14 units of blood, which would fill nearly three people. She was also given three units of plasma and two units of platelets.

“Those of you who donate blood and plasma, you are heroes,” said Davis. “I wouldn’t be here if not for you.”

Although Davis is left with scars, each represents the physical and emotional battle that she and her family dealt with over the course of those three days. She will never forget the people who saved her life -- the flight team, doctors, nurses and people who donated blood.

“I should have died on Wednesday, December 4,” she said. “I felt death, it was very real. But I refused to accept. I watched as my husband crumbled and sobbed and prayed for God to save me. Held my hand asking me to stay.”

January is National Blood Donor Month -- one of the easiest ways to participate is by donating blood. Less than 10% of Americans donate blood, yet 1 in 7 patients entering a hospital have a need for blood. 

Kate Stewart is a registered nurse in the Emergency Department at Holy Rosary Healthcare and vividly recalls Davis’ dire situation. She encourages community members to make blood donation a regular commitment.  

“Without blood donors, amazing people like Adrian would not be here,” said Stewart. “Plain and simple, blood saves lives. Donate today because one day it could be you.”

“I don’t know who donated, but I wish I knew. I wish I could thank them,” said Davis, in tears. “I wish I could tell them what they did and that they saved my life.”

For a complete list of blood drives near you, visit: Vitalant's website or join us for the next blood drive on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 from 10 a.m. - 2:15 p.m. at Miles Community College.

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