Mumbai collecting ‘Bombay Blood Group’ to save Bangladeshi patient

Mumbai :In a rare instance, a rare blood group, known as the Bombay Blood Group, is being collected in Mumbai for a patient in Bangladesh who has suffered multiple fractures and is in urgent need of a surgery.

According to Vinay Shetty, from the Think Foundation, they received a request few days back from the relatives of a patient who is admitted in a hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh. “We got the information that the patient has suffered multiple fractures and needs blood for his further treatment,” he said. However, the only difficulty here is that the patient has Bombay Blood Group, which is extremely rare in the entire world.

There is no availability of Bombay Blood Group in Bangladesh and hence they contacted the Think Foundation in Mumbai to check if this is available. “We have maintained a registry of this particular blood group so that each time there is a need for this we can call people to donate blood,” Shetty said.

In this particular case, they have already got four donors who have donated the blood and they are now making arrangements to send this to Bangladesh as quickly as possible.

“We have contacted a courier company that is helping us to transport the blood to Bangladesh in a way that it does not get spoilt by the time it reaches its destination,” he said. For this purpose, the blood bags are packed in dry ice and then sealed to ensure that it remains in good condition.

The NGO is now trying to get all the necessary documents so that the blood can be transported to Bangladesh without any hitch. “Most of the time we get requests for this blood group within Mumbai but this is a rare instance where the request has come from a foreign land,” he revealed. They have already got a letter from the State Blood Transfusion Council saying that the blood is being transported for humanitarian reasons and all help should be given for this purpose.

According to Dr Yogini Patel, in-charge of the blood bank at BSES Hospital, Andheri(W),  this is an extremely rare blood group, and hence a proper registry has to be maintained of the donors. “It is important to carry out the necessary blood testing of all donors so that more number of this particular group can be detected,” she pointed out. “In India, …this blood group is found in one in 37000 persons and hence it is important to carry out proper testing of blood and detect more such people,” she added.

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What is Bombay Blood Group?

The discovery of Bombay Blood Group was made more than 50 years ago with a patient who was admitted to KEM Hospital and required blood transfusions. A sample of blood was sent to the Blood Bank for grouping as is the usual practice.  The red cells grouped like O group and hence O group blood was administered.  The patient developed haemolytic transfusion reaction, and therefore transfusion had to be stopped.

A detailed study of the patient’s blood revealed a rare genotype (blood group), which was neither ‘A’ nor ‘B’ nor ‘AB’ nor ‘O’.  Since the first case was detected in Mumbai (then Bombay), the blood group came to be called as Bombay Blood Group. Blood from a Bombay Blood Group individual only should be transfused to a Bombay Blood Group patient.

Earlier, the Institute of ImmunoHaematology (IIH) housed in the ICMR at K.E.M. Hospital, Mumbai, was the only referral laboratory for determining the Bombay Phenotype. Samples from all over the country were sent to the IIH, which was the only place, which maintained a directory of persons detected with the Bombay Blood Group. Here again, the presence or absence of Rhesus Antigen would determine whether the person is Bombay Rh Positive or Bombay Rh Negative.  Today there are many laboratories and Blood Banks, which are able to detect and label Bombay Group.


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