The Patients and Their Stories
These are the patients who were featured in the hematology documentary "Blood Detectives" and short summaries of their amazing experiences with blood diseases. Learn more about the film and sign up to request a DVD.
Jose, age 26, thought he was perfectly healthy when he stopped by his doctor's office to pick up the results of a blood test, but he soon learned that he was very ill. After extensive testing, doctors determine that Jose has both lupus and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), a dangerous clotting disorder.
As a young child, Alexandria, now age 17, endured near-constant feelings of exhaustion and general sickness, which turned into severe pain at night. After experiencing a "silent stroke" as a young girl, Alexandria was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia, a disease in which the blood cells become deformed and unable to function properly.
Ezra, age 6, suffers from a rare hereditary disease, spherocytosis, which leads to severe anemia. When Ezra was born, his parents were told he had less than two weeks to live, and blood transfusions saved his life.
Luis, age 20, raced to the hospital with severe pain, only to learn that he had suffered from a heart attack and that a genetic predisposition for blood clots was the underlying cause. His brothers could have the same genetic predisposition without even knowing it.
Rebecca, 39, suffered a massive stroke in her mid-30s that left her almost entirely incapacitated, although she recovered under the care of her doctors. The stroke was caused by a previously undiagnosed autoimmune disorder called antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS), which causes blood to clot more easily and can result in early miscarriages. Now that Rebecca is pregnant with her first child, her team of doctors must closely monitor her condition to ensure a safe delivery.
Aamir, age 38, is an active, fit man who frequently travel the world for his work. One day he woke up in excruciating pain. Though Aamir insisted it was nothing more than stress, his doctors insisted on further testing. They discovered Aamir had a pulmonary embolism brought on by deep-vein thrombosis.
Jerry, 32, suffers from severe hemophilia, a well-known but rare blood disorder that causes painful symptoms and potentially serious complications from excessive bleeding.
As a young child, Anne, now 43, had a nosebleed so severe that no one in her family could get it to stop. Much later, she was diagnosed with a bleeding disorder called von Willebrand disease, which affects up to 3 million people in the United States.
Diagnosed six years earlier with chronic myelogenous leukemia, a cancer of the blood, Doug, now age 75, was told there was nothing the doctors could do for him. But he found new hope in an experimental treatment that signals the cancerous cells to stop duplicating - effectively managing, though not curing, the disease.
Herbert, age 64, has lymphoma, a form of blood cancer that affects white blood cells called lymphocytes. His treatment involves a new therapy in which an antibody binds to the cancerous lymphocytes and tags them for destruction by the body's own immune system.