Free Press Journal

Mumbai: State blood bank faces shortage of blood, patients affected


Mumbai: Mumbai, the city that has a population of over 22 million, is facing a drastic shortage of blood in the blood-banks which are run by the government which has resulted in relatives of patients running from pillar to post in emergencies.  The State Blood Transfusion Council (SBTC) issued a notice to all the blood banks asking them to submit a complete report on the collection of blood taken place in the last four days.

To overcome this shortage, the SBTC has ordered all the city-based blood banks to organise a blood donation drive in the city. “While there is a shortage of blood post-Diwali because there are fewer blood donation drives during the festival, due to which the shortage is more severe this year,” said a senior doctor. Dr Arun Thorat, heading the SBTC, said no complaint had been received so far from banks or patients citing lack of blood units.

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“Usually, during October and November, we face a shortage due to festivities and lower collection of blood through camps,” he said. Officials, however, claim blood banks make alternate arrangement to plug the deficit. For instance, JJ hospital had organised blood donation camps from Friday. The city collected 450 units of blood last month through various camps. In a year, KEM collects 27,000 units, JJ hospital collects 36,000 units and Sion and Nair hospital collect over 15,000 blood units each.

Dr Thorat further added that since the last three days several voluntary blood donation drive have been organised on the railway stations and other places in the city. “Nearly 2,500 to 3,000 units of blood have been collected in the last three days due to which now there is no shortage of blood in all the blood banks,” added Thorat. He further stated that if there is a shortage of any particular blood group in the blood banks then SBTC will arrange to transfer the blood from other blood banks of the city.

Maharashtra had collected 16.17 lakh units of blood in 2016. On an average, the SBTC records a collection of 1.25 lakh blood units each month. The average fell sharply in September and October when 80,000 and 60,000 units were collected, respectively. Vinay Shetty, founder, Think Foundation, said the shortage this year is worse as compared to last year.

“For the last ten days, we have been getting continuous calls from hospitals and donors, asking for blood. People at our organisation have dedicated the last three days just calling up different donors from our list, requesting them to make blood donation for emergency cases,” added Shetty. The National AIDS Control Organisation guidelines mandate that a patient cannot be asked for replacement donor or forced to arrange for donor during surgery. Dr Sanjay Surase, the medical superintendent of JJ hospital, said, “We are holding regular camps. No surgeries have been cancelled so far.”

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