Blood shortage in hospital, camps try to bridge gap

Like most other hospitals, Lok Nayak Hospital is also facing a shortage of blood supply. The hospital is arranging blood donation camps to bridge the gap between demand and supply.

“There is a shortage of blood supply round the year. To augment this gap, we organise blood donation camps actively,” said Dr Siddharth Ramji, medical superintendent at the hospital.

However, a highly placed hospital staff said blood donations have declined to two in three months against the previous records of four to five camps a month in collaboration with NGOs.

“This is mainly because voluntary blood donation has suffered in the current years. Blood donation has become a lucrative business with private blood banks coming in the scenario. Almost every government hospital is facing 20-30 per cent of acute blood shortage,” said the source.

At G B Pant Hospital, where specialised referral cases are dealt with, the situation is a little different.

“We do not have to deal with blood shortage as the surgery date is specified only after the blood collection is in place,” said Dr Sashi Guru Raja, head of the department, blood bank, G B Pant Hospital.  

According to the medical policy across hospitals, the patient’s party is to donate an equal amount of blood that the patient would need during surgery.

This is known as “replacement blood donation” as mostly the blood donated is not from the same group as the patient’s. Emergency cases are, however, exempted from this rule.

With the hospital drawing a huge crowd from outside the city, patients often do not have either a family or friends’ circle here to donate blood. This is when “professional donors” come into the fray.

“They mostly come posing as relatives. While this is an easy way for a donor to earn a few bucks, it is a readymade solution for the patient’s relatives to arrange blood. With professional donors thriving, there is a steep dip in voluntary blood donation,” said the source.

While the hospital receives blood only after the donor meets all the parameters, there is no system in place to curb the practice of donors selling blood to patients.

A “professional donor” charges patients between Rs 300-500. “When my sister-in-law was admitted, we easily got a donor for Rs 500. We also gave him a bottle of beer and a chicken dish,” said Reshma, who had accompanied her husband for a check-up.

Meanwhile, some patients, requesting anonymity, said touts were responsible for the blood shortage in the hospital.

“We have been approached several times by an insider. It is from among the hospital staff that there are touts,” said a patient, who recently underwent a surgery.

Dr Ramji, however, refuted the claim.

“The problem of touts doesn’t exist at LNJP. There is no monetary transaction involved as every bottle of blood is accounted for.But it’s difficult to screen professional donors who pose as relatives. In some cases, we can easily ascertain noticing the number of pricks.”

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