A day after MiD DAY reported how St George Hospital’s regional blood bank had to throw away 44.45 litres of blood, as they had crossed the expiration date, doctors at the bank revealed that they are now facing a shortage of around 100 units of blood. The reason? No blood donation camps were held in the city in recent weeks due to the Diwali celebrations.
Dr Bharat Ghodke, in-charge of the hospital’s blood bank said, “While the Right to Information (RTI) reply did specify that 44.45 litres of blood had expired in a span of one year and eight months, this did not take place due to our apathy. We are actually in need of 100 units of blood now.”
The shelf life for whole blood after it is collected during a donation camp is only 35 days. The blood can only be used on the third day after the necessary tests are conducted. “When we realised that we had excess blood, we did contact several other blood banks, but most blood banks only accept blood that is less than eight days old,” added Dr Ghodke.
Doctors at the blood bank said though they felt helpless about the wastage, it took place because there was no requirement for certain blood groups of which they had extra units. Commenting on the MiD DAY story (‘44.5 Litres Blood, 918 Litres Plasma Wasted At Blood Bank’), a blood transfusion officer at the hospital, Dr Kiran Bendale, said, “The hospital’s regional blood bank is not licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to manufacture Freshly Frozen Plasma (FFP), but we can conduct fractionation and separation plasma from red blood cells, which we use for our 121 thallesemia patients.”
“However, there is no requirement of plasma in our hospital, which is most commonly used for burns injury cases,” he added. On being asked why the plasma wasn’t sent to other blood banks, he said plasma should be separated 10 days before the whole blood expires. Meanwhile, the hospital’s blood bank has just recruited two more lab technicians to meet the shortage of staff. Dr Jagdish Bhavani, medical superintendent of the hospital, said, “The proposal was put forward for two more lab technicians to add to the existing five. They will join the blood bank shortly.”