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Mumbai’s biggest blood bank at KEM Hospital battles shortage for second time in two months

Hospital officials said the shortage was temporary and would be resolved in a couple of days with fresh supplies

mumbai Updated: Feb 15, 2018 09:48 IST
Sadaguru Pandit
Sadaguru Pandit
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,KEM Hospital,blood bank
KEM Hospital. which houses Mumbai’s biggest municipal blood bank.(Hindustan Times)

Mumbai’s biggest municipal blood bank at KEM Hospital has been reeling under blood shortage since Monday and patients are being sent to other government-run hospitals.

Hospital officials said the shortage was temporary and would be resolved in a couple of days with fresh supplies expected to come from donation camps. While the hospital’s daily requirement of blood is about 150-200 units, it collects more than 35,000 units of blood every year.

Two months ago, the blood bank had faced a similar problem along with several other blood banks in the city. The hospital had to put up a notice board with numbers of blood banks in the city, asking patients and their relatives to get blood from other sources.

Vinod Kumar, 41, whose anaemic wife needed blood transfusion, said he was told to get blood from Sir JJ Mahanagar. “Officials told me to wait and eventually said there was no blood. There was no one to attend to my wife. I had no option but to travel to Byculla to get B+ blood units for her,” said Kumar.

Patients from Tata Memorial Hospital who are referred to KEM Hospital were sent to Sir JJ Mahanagar, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, Sion and other public hospitals.

A blood bank employee of KEM Hospital said it had been battling the shortage since Monday. “We don’t have stock of any blood group and all patients are referred to other civic-run hospitals,” said the employee.

Dr Jayashree Sharma, head of department of hepatology at KEM Hospital, said that supplies of certain blood groups were hit, but overall there was no major shortage. “Patients might have been referred to Sir JJ Mahanagar because we have a debit-credit system where we have to maintain the balance between blood units shared amongst us,” said Dr Sharma.

A social worker attached to the hospital repeated Sharma’s claims and added that the hospital conducts over 15-16 blood donation camps and collect over 3,000 units of blood every month.

Experts said that the solution to deal with shortage was better management.

They said January is usually not a month when blood banks face shortage of blood as many blood donations camps are organised in the month. “The city needs about 900 units of blood daily. But we usually face shortage after Diwali and summer vacations since a number of donors travel out of the city and blood donations reduce during these two periods,” said Vinay Shetty, Think Foundation, an NGO that runs a structured programme for collection of blood units.

Blood transfusion officers from Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital said that the problem should not arise in January as donation camps are organised on the Republic Day and Bal Thackeray’s birth anniversary (on January 23).

A medical social worker from KEM Hospital said the scarcity may have been caused owing to the high demand from patients.

Another issue is lack of government blood banks which provide blood at concessional rates to patients. Of the 24 municipal wards, only 12 have a municipal or government-run blood bank. Heavily populated wards such as R-South, P-North, H-West and G-North that record a high number of medical emergencies do not have municipal or government-run blood banks. Of the 18 municipal blood banks in the city , five are battling staff shortage.

First Published: Feb 15, 2018 09:47 IST