A country where blood unit donations are utilized effectively

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I am a doctor at Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, India. While working in the Obstetrics and Gynecology department, we have to arrange blood for patients quite frequently. I came across a patient's relative(brother in law )  who had recently donated blood with our Blood Bank for his family member 6 months back(the family member was his aunt).  For some reason that blood unit couldn't be utilized. The procedure for arranging blood for a patient is : A patient's relative donates blood and on exchange of that does a unit of blood get released from the blood bank, otherwise not. There are various clauses for a donor to be fit. Many a times donors are rejected on reasons such as, poor sleep, not having taken meals, tattoos, previous blood donation within 3 months, previous history of fainting, being thin built, being old, or being too young, being a female, etc etc. 

With such stringent rules which often are necessary while selecting a donor,it becomes difficult for a family to arrange blood on time.

On top of that rules that bind  patients with previous donation not being used, using a donation only for immediate family members etc makes it very harassing for a patient's family. 

I realized when the patient(sister in law of the donor)  required the blood(Hemoglobin was 5.5), this unit couldn't be put into use. The reason was the clause behind the donor card that says that only the patient whose name is on the card can be the beneficiary of the blood unit for a year. Also, only an immediate family member of the donor (mother, father and own children or dependent members)  can be the beneficiaries. 

This was disturbing for the family, as the patient WAS a family member but not the closest one,and because of the rules, the donor had to donate another unit of blood( worse was that  the same person who did it previously donated it for his sister in law). 

It was distressing and sad that so many blood units are wasted in blood banks (a report claimed that 28 million units were wasted in 5 years in India) and when required patients can't avail the benefits.

The rule should be: anytime, for any family member, when required, a family should be able to avail a blood unit in compensation for donations they have done previously. 

Also, while getting discharged,they should have an option of voluntarily donating blood units against their card to someone else in immediate need. 

This will help us create a healthy supply of Blood units. The needy get compensated for the donation they have done and won't feel cheated. 

Kindly join me for raising the issue and changing this rule. Ministry Of Health and Family Welfare can help us change this issue.

Thank you 

Any kind of help and suggestions would be welcome. Add your voice in the comments section below! 

Isha Snehal. 



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