Meet Hudson

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Hudson D.

Jupiter, Florida

When 15-year-old Hudson was thrown from a boat in 2021, everything changed in an instant.

“I swam right under and the propeller got me,” he said. “And in that moment, I knew my life changed forever.”

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It took many hands – and even more blood donors – to save his life, but Hudson took the first steps on his own.

As he surfaced, Hudson saw that his leg had been badly injured. He told his friends to take him to a nearby dock, where he used a water ski rope to tie a tourniquet on his leg to try to slow the profuse bleeding.

“When he first came in, Hudson got 20-something units of blood,” Dr. Robert Borrego said. “And 20-something units of packed cells, 20 units of plasma, and 20-something units of platelets. That’s just the first day.”

Borrego, medical director and trauma surgeon at St. Mary’s Medical Center, said that when Hudson arrived at the hospital, he was in hemorrhagic shock because of how much blood he had already lost. The medical team immediately initiated Massive Transfusion Protocols to get blood back into the teen’s body as quickly as possible.

“What we do immediately is place large IVs everywhere we can,” Borrego said. “We have a refrigerator, and we keep blood in the trauma bay right here. It holds eight units of blood - four O Positive and four O Negative - and four units of plasma. We transfuse that through an autotransfuser that can give up to a liter a minute.”                     

Borrego said the trauma bay refrigerator holds enough blood for one Massive Transfusion Protocol. Hudson immediately needed at least four, which means Borrego’s team had to call the hospital blood bank upstairs to send more.

“We dial the hotline and say we are going to initiate the Massive Transfusion Protocol,” he said. “The blood blank sends us coolers, and it just keeps sending those coolers until we tell them stop.”

Hudson had fractures, muscle and tissue damage, and other injuries that couldn’t be treated right away. He underwent multiple surgeries throughout his first week in the hospital, each requiring even more blood transfusions.

“In his initial week of being in the hospital, he got probably about 50 units of blood."
-Dr. Robert Borrego

Even more transfusions were needed after that as Hudson continued his fight for months in the hospital. The teenager has already undergone nearly 30 surgeries to save his life and his leg. But Hudson never lost hope.

“I said that I wanted to fight and keep my leg, and I’m so happy I did, because it’s a fully functioning leg now,” Hudson said.

Hudson’s will to fight, his medical team, and his blood donors made his incredible recovery possible.

“I want to say that I'm forever thankful for them,” he said. “Because if it wasn't for those people, I wouldn't be here today. And I encourage people to donate blood because you can save someone's life.”

Hudson’s mom, April, said she wakes up grateful to her son’s blood donors each day for giving him a second chance at life.

“We just encourage people to donate blood because it saved our son’s life, and it could save so many other lives.”

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