Mismanagement of blood supplies at the civic-run KB Bhabha Hospital in Bandra has resulted in wastage of 350 liters of blood in the last five years, revealed the reply to an application filed under Right To Information (RTI) Act.
Accusing then hospital staffers of complacency, activists said apart from wasting whole blood, the hospital also wasted components like plasma, packeted red blood cells (PRBC) and platelets.
The RTI filed by a doctor revealed that of the 4,951 units of blood collected during 2012-2016 (up to November 25), 1,019 units expired due to not being issued or sent for component separation. One unit is 350 ml. The applicant said the wastage could have been reduced if the blood had been sent for separation into components. While whole blood has a shelf life of 35 days, its by-products like freshly frozen plasma (FPP) can be stored for 36 months.
“After component separation, fractioning of plasma produces important drugs like albumin, which is essential in the treatment of cancer, liver ailments and burns. India specifically is struggling with the shortage of albumin for months altogether,” said the applicant, pointing out the ripple effect of the blood wastage at the hospital.
The figures indicated that the hospital also issued about 6,366 units of blood in the same period. Sources from the State Blood Transfusion Department said the difference between collection and issued blood units points out that the blood bank also took blood from other facilities during times of shortage.
“Any blood bank, that had larger issued blood numbers than collection numbers, shouldn’t be wasting blood because they are already facing blood shortage. They could coordinate with other blood banks or contact coordinating bodies like Federation of Bombay Blood Banks (FBBB) to relocate the blood at shortage sites,” said an official.
Dr P Jadhav medical superintendent of the hospital said that the numbers look high because they are five yearly statistics. “The problem occurs when we cross match the blood and keep it ready for use prior to surgeries, but it goes utilised. Whenever we have excess blood, otherwise, we do call other blood banks and send them the blood,” said Jadhav.
Information from another RTI query by activist Chetan Kothari earlier this year had revealed that while the 63 blood banks in the city collected 41,88,077 units (14,65,826 litre) of blood in the past five years, around 1,30,000 litres of this blood along with FFP and PRCB expired because it was not used on time. Between January 2014 and December 2015, 22,394 litres of all components were discarded due to delay in usage.
In 2016 alone, the blood bank wasted over 86 units of blood (about 30 litres) from the total 922 units which were collected. In the same period the hospital also issued 975 units of blood, indicating that they faced a shortage of about 53 units during the same period.