ASBP: Navy Grandfather Bypassed a Regular Work Day for Heart Surgery
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Navy Grandfather Bypassed a Regular Work Day for Heart Surgery

By Jeffery Diffy, ASBP Blood Donor Recruiter, North Chicago, Ill.
Navy Mom Maria Harvey shared the story recently of her father Douglas Lorah. Harvey is a regular blood donor and Lorah has required many surgical procedures over the years.

Harvey will soon celebrate the graduation of her daughter, Seaman Recruit Danielle Haas, from boot camp in Great Lakes, Ill. Here is Harvey’s story of her family:

“My father has had several surgeries in the past 20 years. He had back fusion surgery 17 years ago. As he was recuperating, our youngest daughter fell and cut her forehead and required a trip to the emergency room. Fortunately, my father was well enough post-surgery to watch our older daughter while I was the ER.

“That was about the time I started donating blood on a regular basis. He has had multiple surgeries on his neck and back. At this point in time, his spine is almost completely plated and fused. Each time he was in surgery, donated blood was available if needed.

“About 13 years ago, after having experienced chest pains and having had difficulties with blockages of arteries, he chose to ignore the advice of his wife and family. He had a weekend of heart-related issues, but chose to not go to the ER. He left early Monday morning to travel to New Jersey for work. On the drive there, the chest pains worsened.

“He called his cardiologist who advised him to go to the nearest hospital. He ‘drove’ himself to the hospital, but was quickly transferred (to a different location). He arrived around 1 p.m., and before 8 p.m., was having emergency heart bypass surgery.

“Our family lives in eastern Pennsylvania. I picked up my mom and took her to Jersey, my sister and brother-in-law also made the drive to Jersey. As we waited for news on his progress, we prayed for healing and said prayers of thanksgiving that he made it to the hospital and was still with us.

“Around 1 a.m., the surgeon informed us he made it through surgery. We asked how many blockages he had. His response was six! We didn't even know you could have a six bypass surgery. (The doctor) replied, ‘you can't have more than that.’ He had blockages of 90 percent or more in three or four arteries and the others were all 75 to 80 percent blocked.

“I have been donating (with a civilian collection agency) three or four times a year for the last 10 to 12 years. Our church (conducts) blood drives several times a year. Our older daughter couldn't wait to be old enough to donate through her high school.

“I have been very blessed and have only had one surgery. My father has had many surgeries during that same time frame including the emergency heart bypass, several lengthy spinal surgeries, a hip replacement and nerve surgeries. He has needed blood several times. My sister-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer about two years ago, and underwent a radical mastectomy followed by radiation and chemo. After all the treatment she was cancer free and was able to undergo reconstructive surgery.

"We are blessed he is still with us. And what a blessing it is to donate blood knowing that it saves lives.”

Danielle Haas will graduated boot camp Feb. 3 and then traveled to her “A” school in Pensacola, Fla. Once her training is complete, she will serve as a cryptologic technician (collections). During her initial training in boot camp she donated blood Feb. 15.

“I didn’t know what had happened to my grandfather when I was young,” she said. “As soon as I found out what he had been through, I started donating blood. That’s why I donate!”

Before serving in the Navy, Haas worked at a home and garden shop with flowers and landscaping. She recalled the times at her father’s home as well, growing up with three horses, four goats and a donkey as pets.

“I’m happy to help with a blood donation,” she said. “My aunt, Amy Idding, has been through much surgery as well. I’m happy to provide blood to those that might need it.”

When blood donations are provided, surgery recipients, and those with unexpected accidents or injuries benefit from the availability of blood and blood products.

About the Armed Services Blood Program
Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States military. As a tri-service organization, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families worldwide. As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP works closely with our civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military blood collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize availability of this national treasure. To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or get the latest news, follow @militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest. Find the drop. Donate.

The Armed Services Blood Program is a proud recipient of the Army Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Public Affairs award for journalism.