The Washington Post:
“In Australia, up until about 1967, there were literally thousands of babies dying each year, doctors didn’t know why, and it was awful,” Jemma Falkenmire, of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, told Gupta. “Women were having numerous miscarriages, and babies were being born with brain damage.”
The babies, it turned out, were suffering from hemolytic disease of the newborn, or HDN. The condition most often arises when a woman with an Rh-negative blood type becomes pregnant with a baby who has Rh-positive blood, and the incompatibility causes the mother’s body to reject the fetus’s red blood cells.
Doctors realized, however, that it might be possible to prevent HDN by injecting the pregnant woman with a treatment made from donated plasma with a rare antibody.
Researchers scoured blood banks to see whose blood might contain this antibody, and found a donor in New South Wales: James Harrison.
What an incredible story of a medical marvel and a kind, caring man.