Hesitant donors impact use of plasma therapy
The life of a 72-year-old resident of Pimpri-Chinchwad, Covid-19 positive, could have been saved if he received plasma from a virus cured person with O+ve blood group. As the family failed to find a suitable donor, the man breathed his last at Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial hospital on Saturday early morning.
The deceased who tested positive on July 16 needed plasma therapy, said the doctors at the hospital.
A relative of the deceased said, “We have no idea how he got infected, but we got to know that plasma could cure him and hospital was not finding any donors. We also tried our best, but failed.”
In Pune, plasma therapy is carried out at Sassoon General Hospital and Poona Hospital. A senior doctor from Sassoon said, “We contacted at least 1,000 people who have been discharged, but only close to 40 people have come forward and 21 were eligible. Most of the people we contacted do not respond positively, they are always reluctant to show up and give excuses. It takes only two hours to test and complete the process.”
A man whose wife is admitted at YCM is also looking for a donor with AB+ve blood group to come forward. After much labour, he found a donor.
He said, “We live in Ambedkar Colony and my wife lost both her parents to Covid-19. After she tested positive, we admitted her to YCM as there was no ventilator available in any private hospital.”
“Here the doctors said they needed a donor with AB+ve blood group who has been recovered in the last one month. We got one donor on Saturday and now he is being tested for eligibility and if approved the process would start,” he said.
Another 56-year-old woman admitted at Command hospital needs an O+ve blood group donor who has been undergoing treatment since June 30. However, even after much search, the family has not been able to find any donor.
Her son said, “We did try to contact a few blood banks, but it was of no help. The administration must at least set up a toll-free number for the same so that people like me can be guided.”
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), Maharashtra chapter, even wrote a letter to the state government on July 14 that the state government must make it compulsory for those recovered to donate plasma under the ‘Epidemic Act 1897 or a new Ordinance.
District collector Naval Kishore Ram said, “If the IMA has such a proposal we can discuss it with them and are trying to counsel people even during discharge and after discharge too, but not many are coming forward.”
“We are working on getting more donors. If need be, we can get it in writing from those cured to donate during discharge,” he said.
In its letter, the IMA wrote, “IMA Maharashtra State suggests that the Government of Maharashtra must make it mandatory for all the patients who got cured of the deadly disease, to donate blood for the plasma therapy. To facilitate this procedure, a mandatory undertaking can be taken from all the patients to report on the 15th day after the discharge or recovery. Thereafter they will be tested for fitness for the Blood Donation. A separate plasma bank may be formed for the procedure at every place with the help of the blood banks in the public as well as the private sector”.
Who can donate plasma
The donor must be 18-60 years of age.
The donor would be thoroughly checked before the plasma is retrieved from the blood and retransferred into the person’s body.
The entire process takes about 2-3 hours and the person does not experience any weakness.
As of July 15, close to 6,500 people were discharged after being declared as cured only in PMC jurisdiction. All those, who have no comorbidity and have not reported any symptoms in the past month within the age group of 18-60 are eligible to donate plasma therapy.
Plasma therapy has proven to be a successful treatment method for patients who are critical.