Pathologists and technicians of Rajawadi Hospital blood bank are working only eight hours a day — a violation of the norms set by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), revealed an RTI query. Officials at the hospital also said that the blood bank had wasted about 760ltrs of blood that had gone past the expiry date, in the past decade.
Responding to an RTI query filed by activist Chetan Kothari, the hospital administration said that the blood bank is run by two registered pathologists, Dr Kashinath L Jadhav and Dr Sunil Inamdar, who work as medical officers. Both work from 8am in the morning to 4pm in the evening. According to the FDA norms, the services of the blood bank need to be undertaken under a registered practitioner, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The hospital also mentioned that there are four blood bank technicians, with two working in alternate shifts. However for the night shift from 8pm to 4pm, the technicians are available only eight days a month. The four FDA approved technicians Sunila Sahastrabudhhe, Hema Shinde, Nita Deshmukh and Ramesh Shinde.
Kothari, commenting on the schedule of the doctors, said that problems normally come up when blood needs to be issued after 4pm, in the cases of emergencies. “The hospital, in their response, has clearly mentioned that they are not associated with any other blood bank or blood storage centre, nor are there any bonded doctors working at the blood bank. If certain units of blood need to be issued to a patient at night time, who will supervise the cross matching and issue reports?” said Kothari.
However, Dr Vidya Thakur, medical superintendent at the hospital, said that they have two more blood transfusion officers who work at night. “The RTI applicant only asked about pathologists and we named the two who are currently employed. But we have an additional staff of two doctors, who were recently trained for six months and work at night,” said Thakur.
According to MCI norms, blood bank reports have to be supervised and issued by a certified pathologist, registered with the Maharashtra Medical Council and the technicians don’t have the right to issue or sign reports.
The license of the blood bank was cancelled last year for four days for flouting norms. FDA officials said that permanent cancellations aren’t considered keeping in mind the welfare of the patients. FDA commissioner, Harshdeep Kamble said that it’s a violation of norms and they will have to check if the hospital was giving an additional charge to a registered pathologist. “I’ll ask my officials to check who conducts the tests and issues reports post 4pm if there are no pathologists available. At times, they manage the staff by giving somebody additional responsibility,” said Kamble.