Thank goodness for siblings! My mom has 8 healthy brothers and sisters. This means lots of blood tests and Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) typing to determine a stem cell match. Each sibling is required to provide two very carefully labeled tubes of blood. Each tube is 10cc, for a total of 20cc per person. Since five of the siblings are in Vietnam, the HLA Typing lab in California sent five testing kits to Vietnam. Each kit has 2 tubes, 1 Instruction Sheet and 1 “Return of Specimen” form. The forms are included in this post. If the tubes are not properly labeled, the blood is rejected. There are specific instructions to not cool or refrigerate the samples. The samples are required to make it to the HLA typing office in less than 7 days. I called our family to translate all the instructions. All five siblings met at the hospital to have their blood drawn but left to go home for the following reasons:
- The clinic’s office said they need to go get cooling gel to keep in the packages to keep the blood cold. This is incorrect. Must be at room temperature!
- The contacted the local post office and they refused to send any blood. They then asked FedEx and DHL. Both carriers only allow blood samples from one specific hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. So the siblings would have to go there to get their blood drawn and FedEx would have to pick it up.
We cleared up all misunderstanding! Tomorrow, my aunts and uncles will go to the main hospital in Ho Chi Minh City that has partnerships with FedEx and DHL. After getting their blood drawn, they will label everything and return everything properly packaged via overnight mail back to the United States. It has been a very interesting experience of translating and learning about localization and shipping rules in each country!