Hospitals across the city are facing an acute shortage of the rare B-negative blood group, leading to a delay in crucial surgeries. In the case of 87-year-old Bhairavi Doshi (name changed on request), her femur operation has been postponed for over a week at a leading Mumbai hospital.
She has been told that most blood banks across the city have not been able to supply eight bottles of B-negative, Doshi’s blood group. A minimum of three bottles is required before surgery, and another five after.
On November 22, Doshi slipped at her ancestral home in Sakharup, Ratnagiri. Government hospitals in the area advised that the Ghatkopar-resident be taken to Mumbai. Doshi’s grandson explained that her doctor in Mumbai discovered that her haemoglobin count was low.
“Since November 24, the entire family has been making trips of major blood banks, but have managed to procure just three bottles,” he said. Dr Narendra Kaur Naidu, medical director of Bombay Red Cross Centre, said his organisation usually had ample stock of the group.
However, in the last month, the overall collection had been affected and rare groups like B-negative have been worst hit. “There is an 80 per cent drop in blood collection across Mumbai. The problem could be due to the ongoing festival season and vacations. Fewer camps are being organised,” informed Naidu.
Vinay Naidu, vice-president of Think Foundation, which organises blood donation camps, said on an average, 900 donors are required to donate blood on a daily basis to sustain the city’s need. “We require better planning before the actual shortfall occurs. Donors may be in a holiday mood, but patients are certainly not.”
Dr Neelam Nijra, secretary, Federation of Bombay Blood Banks, a non-profit organisation formed by 47 government and private blood banks in Mumbai, said they have an efficient system of exchanging blood. “We are expecting the situation to ease up as fresh camps are scheduled,” she said.
When SUNDAY mid-day called
Call made to JJ Mahanagar Blood Bank (JJM), Byculla, on Friday night
SMD: We are not getting B-negative anywhere.
JJM: Try Seven Hills, Andheri. They will have the negative stock there. Shall I give you their number?
SMD: We called there too, but they don’t have it.
JJM: Seven Hills told us they will have negative stock this morning.
SMD: Since when is this shortage going on? What if a patient is in dire need?
JJM: When do you need it? In the morning? Call after 10 and check.
SMD: I need it today, not tomorrow. It’s an emergency — what else can we do?
JJM: It’s [shortage] been on for 15-20 days. We don’t have blood.
SMD: You don’t have blood or B-negative specifically?
JJM: We don’t have B-negative; positive stock is also less.