Patrick's plasma plea

Patrick Watchorn, 9, outside the Rockhampton Red Cross Blood Bank with mum Katie Masterson and brother Nate McMullen.
Patrick Watchorn, 9, outside the Rockhampton Red Cross Blood Bank with mum Katie Masterson and brother Nate McMullen. Sharyn Oneill

HAVING a healthy kidney is something most of us take for granted, but for Gracemere's Patrick Watchorn, it's a constant struggle.

The nine-year-old has a chronic kidney disease which requires him to have 12 100ml bottles of albumin, the plasma in blood, every week to maintain the health of his kidneys.

But on March 9, a nation-wide and international batch number of albumin was recalled after equipment failure contaminated it.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) released a statement earlier this month informing the public and hospitals of the contamination.

"CSL Biotherapies notified the TGA on 7 March 2012 that some batches of human albumin solutions manufactured prior to 25 January 2012 have been contaminated with ethylene glycol as a consequence of an equipment failure."

Patrick's mother, Katie Masterson, said his weekly treatment was stopped last week after the news of the contamination, which therefore created a short supply of the product.

"Because of this they've now got a low supply of albumin so I don't know what that means for Patrick. I nearly had a heart attack when I found out," Katie said.

"The worst case scenario would be that he would have to get one of his kidneys' removed or dialysis if this was ongoing."

Luckily, Katie said Patrick would get a treatment this week.

"He didn't go last week and it made such a difference, he got a lot worse" she said.

Rockhampton's Red Cross Blood Service community relations officer Rachael Speechley said blood donors were in high demand from now until Easter.

"We've got 158 vacant appointments from now until then, so we'd love more people to book in," she said.

"Almost every person who donates blood, their plasma is used."

Topics:  blood health hospital kidney plasma

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