Laxmikant Prasad, 54, whose eight-year-old son Rajan has been diagnosed with dengue and a low platelet count, had a harrowing time on Saturday getting platelets (the required blood component) for his treatment. After running from one blood bank to another, he managed to get two units from Red Cross Society.
"I have already donated blood earlier this week for my brother Chandrakant who was diagnosed with dengue. And now it is my son. It was really difficult to get the required units," he said.
Sudha Lakhani, 35, who works at a call centre in Noida and was down with dengue also had a tough time finding a donor. "Since I had no donor and the hospital did not have my platelet match, I was finally given platelet-rich plasma, which is not group specific.
Although I had to cough up money but at least I got the treatment," she said.
Delhi government's Lok Nayak Hospital, a regional blood transfusion centre, is producing 60 units of platelets daily. But from last one week they are finding it difficult to meet the rising demand, thanks to spiralling dengue cases.
"We ran short of B+ platelets on Friday night, which created a panic situation. But then we had to give patients platelet-rich plasma to meet the shortage," said Dr Amit Banerjee, medical superintendent at the Lok Nayak hospital.
"We are also holding two blood donation camps to meet the growing need for blood, which is helping in treating people who come in emergency or without donors," he said.
There has been a sporadic shortage of platelets even at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). There have been instances at AIIMS when patients have had to be referred to other centres.
"Mostly we ask the patient's attendants to replace the blood we give to a patient but incase there is an excessive requirement, we have to use from our stock. Though there is a perennial blood shortage, the crises is worst now with the rise in the dengue cases," said Dr D K Sharma, medical superintendent at AIIMS.
"We hosted a blood camp just two days ago to meet the rising demand of blood. We could collect about 200 units in a single day," he said.
The total number of dengue cases in the Capital is 1295, with 69 fresh cases being reported on Sunday.
This has surpassed last year's total 1,153 cases in Delhi. Three people have died of the disease so far. The Delhi government has also offered monetary support to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for the cleaning drives.