Getting blood in times of crisis: Relatives, students

Health is a mater of big concern for many Bengalureans. While known diseases are a cause of worry, the emergence of several unknown ailments has created a big demand for pure blood. Here’s why: Blood can sometimes prove to be a major carrier of ill-health factors.

Recognising this need for healthy blood, some city hospitals have set up donor directories. These are a means to get supply of blood from regular donors. Often, hospitals depend on both educational institutions and companies in their vicinity for donors.

Relatives are often the first people to come forward to donate blood. “When my mother underwent a surgery, my husband donated blood,” recalls Rajeshwari V, a bank employee.

She adds, “Another patient in the ward too said that his father, who attended on him, donated blood as the group matched and they did not have to approach the blood bank.”

Dr Uma, head of the blood bank at Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research, informs, “Our hospital has an inhouse donor directory for emergencies too, with the staff donating blood to the patients, if the patients have no known donors. Special care is taken to ensure there is supply of blood for the cardiac surgeries at our hospital.”

Many patients at their hospital, she adds, are from the lower rungs of society and also from outside Bengaluru. They could not afford to get personal donors.

She admits that although very rare, there were cases in the past of blood shortage at the bank, particularly when there was a lot of bleeding after a surgery.

However, she adds, “since we are a cardiac surgery hospital, we are not approached for treatment of Dengue cases. If the platelet count is very low for the patient, we get blood from a nearby organisation,” Dr Uma informs.

In case of rare groups of blood such as AB- or Bombay, Foundations and social media platforms are approached to connect to the community. “Sankalp India Foundation and Lions Bloodline help us out very often. We approach them for blood of rare groups, as they have a wide network of people volunteering to give blood.”

Sandeep K S, who works in a software company, notes, “There have been several messages forwarded in Whatsapp groups or even Facebook, requesting donors for blood. As usual, there are many outdated messages that go on rounds in such groups.”

But he had found some genuine ones too. “There were many who were financially weak and patients with rare groups hunting for donors. Many of us prefer to offer help under such circumstances,” says Sandeep.

On the use of social media for blood requests and collection, here’s what Manoj Kumar, managing trustee of the Lions Blood Bank has to say: Social media is being used blindly. “Some people use it as a stage to try to show themselves as philanthropic. The messages make rounds for months, getting outdated.”

During holidays and examinations, blood donations from educational institutions drop. “When we are in urgent need of blood during cardiac surgeries, we need to get blood freshly. We then request people to mention the patient details in the messages sent on social media,” notes Kumar.

The date, patient’s name, hospital name and ward are to be mentioned, to prove the authenticity. “The messages can be considered outdated after seven days,” he explains.

On organising blood donation camps, he says, “ Three dates prior to the camp, a motivation camp is held, giving the students or employees information on who can donate blood and the benefits. Donors are given health checkups.”

Both Dr Uma and Manoj Kumar notes that blood donation guidelines are strictly followed. “Licensing is very stringent, following the Drug and Cosmetic Rules. Our blood bank maintains records of up to four generations,” says Dr Uma.

Besides rejecting blood from people suffering from major health problems such as Hepatitis A and B, kidney disorders, neurological problems, AIDS, endocrine disorders or diabetic problems, “people who have had tattoos or ear piercing are asked to wait for six months before they donate blood.”

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