Mumbai: 6-year-old's kin asked to arrange for blood, again

The boy’s uncle had donated blood to the bank to enable the boy to undergo surgery last week; the patient is now anaemic and KEM hospital wants family to arrange for more

Three days after mid-day reported about an alleged violation of medical ethics by surgeons at KEM Hospital before operating on six-year-old Howrah resident Sameer Ansari, the situation remains unchanged for the family.

Doctors have declared Sameer anaemic and suggested immediate blood transfusion for a speedy recovery
Doctors have declared Sameer anaemic and suggested immediate blood transfusion for a speedy recovery

It has now been learnt that Sameer’s uncle Mohammad Jainul Avadi, who had to break his roza so that he could provide replacement blood for the amount used during his nephew’s surgery last week, is now running from pillar to post to secure a unit of replacement blood as demanded by the hospital in exchange for a unit of A+ blood that needs to be given to the boy. Sameer, who underwent plastic surgery at the hospital on June 19, is currently suffering from low haemoglobin levels. Doctors have declared him anaemic and suggested immediate blood transfusion.

“His stitches are still raw and aren’t healing as expected. So the doctor asked us to give him a unit of blood to increase the platelet count, as it will help him heal faster. However, officers manning the in-house blood bank refused to give blood until we gave them replacement,” said Sameer’s mother, Mazda Khatur.

Despite guidelines issued by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), the apex body managing the blood banks across India, civic hospitals are still applying the prohibited practice of replacement blood donation.

Narrating his ordeal, Avadi said, “Initially, the surgery was kept on hold for three days as we weren’t able to provide replacement blood. I broke my roza prematurely and did the needful. Now they are doing the same thing again.”

Doc speak
Speaking to mid-day, Dr Avinash Supe, dean of KEM Hospital, said, “There is an acute shortage of blood at all the hospitals. Hence, we encourage people to provide an alternative source of blood. Despite holding several blood donation camps, we still face a crisis. We never encourage replacement blood donation as procedure, but only as an alternative source.”

When this correspondent visited the blood bank, one of the officers said that they are forced to rely on replacement blood donation method due to the acute shortage of blood.

“Every day, we receive demands for at least 140 units of blood. But the number of donations we receive daily is just 70. Currently, we have just six bags in the bank. What can we do if people just take blood and do not donate?” the officer added.

The case
Sameer and Mazda Khatur visited Mumbai to spend summer holidays with Avadi. But on June 6, Sameer contracted fever, following which he was rushed to a private hospital for treatment. Later, Sameer developed a boil on his chin as an allergic reaction to the antibiotics administered. The boil worsened as time progressed, leaving a hole in his chin eventually. It was then that the Ansaris rushed Sameer to the KEM on June 10. The boy was shifted to the plastic surgery department after the initial check-up. The surgery was performed on June 19, only after Avadi donated replacement blood.

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