A chance conversation

How a blood transfusion led to a new role for nurse Helen Vincent

When Helen Vincent went into labour in January 2012, it changed her life in more ways than she had expected.

The early stages of Helen’s labour progressed normally, however her son Zac became stuck. Doctors decided to complete the delivery using forceps and subsequently Helen lost one and a half litres of blood. She takes up the story:

“Having lost so much blood, my iron levels had dropped dramatically. The doctors decided to give me two units of blood to boost my iron levels.

“Before I had Zac I was working as a trauma nurse at the hospital where he was born. I would often give my patients transfusions and I was very familiar with how to give someone the vital blood they needed. After having Zac I thought more about the selflessness of donors, as I knew what it was like to have my own life saved by a transfusion.”

After her maternity leave, Helen went on to work at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham and it was during a chance conversation with a member of our Tissue Services team that she decided to look for a role at NHS Blood and Transplant.

In December 2013 Helen joined us as a Session Sister with our Worcester team. She said “I got to know my team and the donors very well. I have since gone on to become the Clinical Donor Centre Manager at Gloucester and I still enjoy seeing our regular blood and platelet donors come through the doors. It amazes me how they donate so selflessly even though they will never meet the person who they have given the chance of survival to.”

Helen often tells her story to donors to thank them and give them an insight into the difference they are making. She continued “I feel proud to work for NHS Blood and Transplant and to be able to give something back to the donors who helped me. I will never get to thank them in person.”

Helen relishes every moment she spends with her family. She knows that wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of blood donors, and for that she can never be thankful enough.


In this issue of The Donor magazine

Breakthrough in the manufacture of platelets

What are you waiting for?

It’s our 70th anniversary!

Give the best gift of all this Christmas

A day to remember

New text service is a hit

Competing thanks to you