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Facebook appeal for blood donor saves student's life

Facebook is no longer just a social networking site. On New Year’s Day, a British student studying abroad in Mexico fell from a seventh-floor balcony after a night of celebration and broke his legs and his lower back as well as damaging internal organs. But Facebook came to his rescue. It saved Philip Pain’s life.

Philip Pain is a 20 year old British student enrolled in Southampton University, That night, after coming back to the hotel from New Years Eve celebrations in Mazatlan, Mexico, Philip Pain fell from the seventh-floor balcony.

The problem was not only the numer­ous broken bones and the damage done, but also the fact that his blood type was O-negative.

Only seven percent of the popula­tion has O-negative type blood. His father, Neil, 51, who is a retired police­man, and his mother, Sally, 51, who is a hairdresser, have flown to the hospital in Mazatlan to his aid, but none of his family members shared the same blood type.

In desperation, his family and friends turned to Facebook. They started a group called “Urgent: Blood donors needed in Mexico to Save British stu­dent’s life,” where they pleaded for help to find O-negative blood in Mexico.

With the help of Facebook, Pain’s family members could communicate with people in Mexico and even in the US for O-negative type blood.

News traveled fast, and within hours of launching the Facebook group, Pain received twelve pints of blood from Florida and eight pints from donors who came to the hospital in Mazatlan, and was promised more by other O-negative donors on the emer­gency blood list.

The posts and updates elaborated on Pain’s surgeries, his progress, his family, and the situation on O-negative blood donors.

The group now has close to 13,000 members, and his friends as well as strangers who have just heard about Pain have been sharing encourage­ments and wishing him the best through Facebook.

His sister Stephanie Pain said in the Telegraph: “Hospitals in Mexico don’t have much storage space for blood so we need people coming through the doors every day. His blood group is unique to him in our family, probably through a recessive gene and that is hard to deal with. [On Facebook], we have been able to co-ordinate the campaign in a way we wouldn’t have been able to do from Mexico.”

With the donated O-negative blood, the doctors are able to give Pain a vital transfusion. His heart is continuing to improve, the drain in his lungs has been taken out, and his blood levels are getting better.

However, he still requires dialysis because of his damaged kidneys, and he is receiving food through a tube.

His brain, fortunately, has no par­ticular damage, and the doctors are continuing to operate on realigning small nerves and replacing broken bone fragments.

Pain was in an induced coma, but now that he is off the coma inducing drugs, the doctors are hopeful in bring­ing him back to consciousness.

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