Blood is in short supply always…
Every 2 seconds someone in India requires blood and yet blood is perennially in short supply. Therefore, there cannot be a nobler activity than donating blood. Blood transfusion is a critical need for accident victims, trauma victims, premature babies, patients undergoing surgery etc. With this in view, National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC) has now allowed interstate exchange of blood and its components such as red blood cells, fresh frozen plasma and platelets.
Blood banks may provide blood at short notice but they insist on replacement donor for each bottle provided. Also it must be noted that blood can be stored for 42 days only.
It is heartening to observe that technology has come to the rescue by connecting blood donors with needy patients. These websites and social media platforms promote blood donation and it is gratifying that large number of individuals have been coming forward as blood donors.
These persons register at the websites and furnish details like their address, mobile numbers, age, blood group etc. The online platforms also have a search option where a patient’s kin can search for and obtain contact details of the donors located in their area. The patient’s kin then get in touch with the prospective donors who then visit the hospital and donate blood.
Since people from rural villages who visit metros for treatment may not have access to internet, some organizations have introduced SMS service. On sending an SMS from their mobile phone about the need for blood, they receive in response donor details on their mobile phone.
Donate blood and save lives…
Any healthy adult weighing more than 50 kg can donate blood. The plasma part of the blood gets replaced in 48 hours, whereas red blood cells are fully replenished in 6 to 8 weeks. Hence it is a misconception that blood donation leads to weakness. However, once a person donates blood, he or she cannot do it again for the next 3 months.
You must abstain from alcohol and smoking for 48 hours before donating. You should not have suffered from any transmittable diseases in the recent past. You should not be taking any medication presently and must not have had surgery in the last 6 months. You need to be free from medical conditions like hypertension, cardiac problems, venereal diseases, AIDS etc.
The blood donation may be done at any hospital, clinic or at an outdoor blood donation camp. To begin with, you will be asked about your medical history following which vital parameters like blood pressure, hemoglobin, temperature etc will be measured.
You will be made to lie down, the area of the arm will be cleansed and a disposable needle will be inserted to draw the blood. The blood collects in a bag and after about 1 pint of blood is collected in about 10 minutes, the process is over. The area of the arm is bandaged and after relaxing for 15 minutes you are free to leave.
Patients must insist that the blood is double-checked...
Blood banks should mandatorily check blood for HIV, HBV, HCV, syphilis and malaria. There have been instances of patients having contracted Hepatitis (B & C) and AIDS due to blood transfusion. This is because many blood banks depend solely on third or fourth generation ELISA test which does not detect infections that have been caught by the donor within a long window period of 3 months. Patients may insist on PCR test as a double-check to ensure that the blood is absolutely infection free, because with PCR the window period for infections is shortened to a few days.
Finally, it has to be noted that most top-notch private hospitals insist on replacement donors and do not accept blood from banks.