Blood banks run dry this Di­wali, leave pa­tients in lurch

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTMETRO - HT Cor­re­spon­dent

Ow­ing to va­ca­tions, there have not been many blood camps, hence the short­age. OFFICIAL FROM KEM HOSPI­TAL

MUM­BAI: The city has been fac­ing a short­age of blood sup­ply since last week as very few blood do­na­tion camps were con­ducted be­cause of Di­wali.

Ac­cord­ing to Vi­nay Shetty, who heads an NGO called Think Foun­da­tion, rel­a­tives of pa­tients have fran­ti­cally reached out to him as they could not find blood in the banks. Es­ti­mates by the foun­da­tion sug­gest at least 1,000 peo­ple are re­quired to do­nate blood daily to meet the city’s blood re­quire­ment. “While there is a short­age of all blood compo- it is par­tic­u­larly se­vere for platelets as they have a shelf life of just five days,” Shetty said.

The six-monthly re­ports of the three largest med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties of the city – KEM, LTMG Sion and BYL Nair hos­pi­tals – in­di­cated that de­spite col­lect­ing 11,375 units, 7,254 units and 6,507 units of blood re­spec­tively through blood camps, the hos­pi­tals had to buy 5,343 units, 113 units and 1,055 units of blood from other blood banks due to the short­age. Dr He­mant Desh­mukh, dean, KEM Hospi­tal, said the short­age is un­likely to last long as a num­ber of NGOS have come in sup­port of ma­jor hos­pi­tals to ar­range blood camps and fill the short­age. “We have a busy sched­ule of blood do­na­tion camps for the next month to en­sure there will be no short­age. Usu­ally, dur­ing fes­tive sea­sons, the num­ber of planned surg­eries de­creases and thus, the re­quire­ment of blood de­creases. None­the­less, ad­e­quate mea­sures are taken to en­sure pa­tients don’t suf­fer,” Desh­mukh said.

Med­i­cal ex­perts said tha­lassemia and leukaemia pa­tients suf­nents, fered a lot due to the short­age as they need blood trans­fu­sion fre­quently. Reshma Aara, 32, a mother of a four-and-half-yearold girl who is un­der­go­ing chemo­ther­apy for blood can­cer at the civic-run KEM hospi­tal, Parel, said that on the day of Di­wali, the hospi­tal’s blood bank asked them to ar­range for platelets from an­other hospi­tal.

“There was a short­age but we luck­ily got it from JJ Hospi­tal’s blood bank,” she added. An official from KEM blood bank said the short­age is due to in­ad­e­quate blood camps. “Ow­ing to va­ca­tions, there have not been many blood camps, hence the short­age,” the official said. An on-duty official from JJ Ma­hana­gar blood bank also gave the same rea­son for the un­avail­abil­ity of blood.

The State Blood Trans­fu­sion Coun­cil (SBTC) had an­tic­i­pated the short­age and had con­ducted meet­ings with re­li­gious or­gan­i­sa­tions re­quest­ing them to hold camps ahead of Di­wali. Dr Arun Tho­rat, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor, SBTC, said there was a poor re­sponse as many donors are trav­el­ling.

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