In what appears to be a clear-cut violation of medial ethics, parents of a six-year-old boy accused the KEM Hospital surgeons of refusing to operate on their son if they failed to provide the in-house blood bank with replacement blood.
Sameer with his mother Mazda Khatur and uncle Mohammad Avadi
Kolkata resident Sameer Ansari, who was admitted to the hospital on June 10 after a drug-induced allergy left a hole in his chin, was finally operated on June 19 after reeling in pain for three days. Ansaris, who hail from Kolkata, also claimed that the corrective surgery was performed after Sameer’s uncle deposited blood for which he broke his fast prematurely. A second surgery has been lined-up for this week.
“Sameer needed a unit of A+ blood. But the hospital refused to operate on him until we provided them with the replacement. I broke my fast prematurely so that I could donate blood. While I was forced to donate blood, the hospital slip states it was voluntary,” said Sameer’s uncle Mohammad Jainul Avadi, a tailor from Dharavi.
Vacation turns tragedy
Sameer and his mother Mazda Khatur came to Mumbai from Howrah 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 here that the Ansaris rushed Sameer to the KEM. The boy was shifted to the plastic surgery department after the initial check-up.
Commenting on the issue, Dr Avinash Supe, dean of KEM Hospital, said he was unaware of any such case and assured a detailed inquiry into the matter. “It mostly seems to be a case of misunderstanding. At times, we do ask parents or relatives to find an alternate source of blood for the patient. If blood is in stock, we never ask for an alternate source. Also, there is a slight possibility that they were asked for a replacement due to an acute shortage.”
Speaking to mid-day, an officer from the blood bank claimed that there is an acute shortage of blood at the hospital. “Blood donation drives plummet during summer vacation, as the number of donors and volunteers decreases drastically. Since they are struggling to meet the demand and supply, at times doctors do ask for replacement.”
Terming the demand as a gross violation of norms laid down by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), the apex body controlling the blood banks, activists claimed no patient or his/her family members could be forced into giving replacement blood. “Blood donation should be voluntary. Forcing a patient’s family or relatives is technically illegal,” said Vinay Shetty from Think Foundation.