When James Harrison was a 14 year old boy in Australia in the 1950s, he had emergency surgery and received a transfusion, which saved his life. Even though he hated needles, James felt a debt to the unknown strangers who’d given him such a gift and vowed to return the favor. Little did he know how much he would do.
Everyone’s blood has an Rh factor, positive or negative. But during pregnancy, if a mother’s Rh factor is not matched by the baby’s, her immune system can mistake the baby for a foreign body and attack it. The disease is termed Rh Sensitization and can be fatal to the child before or after birth and has caused immeasurable pain and millions of deaths.
In Good Blood, bestselling writer Julian Guthrie tells the gripping story of the race for a cure, led by a pioneering doctor who had lost her own baby to the disease, and a pair of researchers at Columbia University, who theorized that the answer might be found in an antibody. This set off a globespanning hunt for a person with the right blood, who turned out to be James Harrison. So for sixty years, James has given his blood—1,175 donations—and helped save the lives of 2.4 million babies. Based on extensive interviews with James, Dr. John Gorman, who helped find the cure, and others, Good Blood is a fascinating story of medical breakthroughs and the power of human generosity.