6 yo Riley Nixon knows a thing or two about pathology... he had five times the volume of his blood tranfused after being kicked in the chest by a horse last year. Member for Riverina Michael McCormack toured the WBH Pathology unit with Dr Peter Harman, from Pathology Awareness Australia. Acting laboratory manager Pathology West Naomi Hocker showed the lads around the lab

Saving lives – fast

Major transfusion saves Riley’s life

You’d never know to look at him running around, but 6 year old Riley came within a whisker of death just over a year ago. A spooked horse kicked him square in the chest and Riley collapsed instantly. His his mother Carolyn recalls:

“It was one of the most awful moments of my life. He was just lying there, completely still.”

Medical staff at the Wagga Base Hospital worked furiously to stem massive blood loss from a cut in his liver. Supporting the frontline team was pathology.

Samples of Riley’s blood were rushed to the lab every few minutes, where laboratory manager Naomi and her team worked frantically to get results quickly. Riley’s ability to clot blood, his blood oxygen levels and other vital information was fed back to the trauma team.

Most importantly, pathology staff ensured that all 60 units of donated Red Cross blood given to Riley matched his own blood type. Ultimately, Riley had 5 times more than his natural blood supply pumped back into him.

These days, the cranky horse is a distant memory for Riley, who recently took a behind-the-scenes tour of the pathology lab at Wagga Base Hospital. You can see news coverage of Riley’s tour here.

This short video from an Emergency Department Director explains how reliant trauma centres are on fast, accurate pathology:

Carolyn says, “I’m so thankful for the wonderful staff at Wagga Base Hospital, including the pathology team, for helping save Riley’s life. You may not even realise pathology is happening in the background, but when you really need it, you’ll appreciate it!”

If you or a loved one has undergone a life-saving blood transfusion like Riley, you’ll have a reason to value pathology. If you haven’t already, sign up to show your support in the sign-up boxes on this website.