KEM's blood bank well-stocked, but patients being sent away empty-handed

Oct 15, 2012, 06:49 IST | Priyanka Dhomse

One of the biggest and most important civic-run hospitals in the city, where thousands of patients arrive for subsidised medical care, is struggling in one of the most crucial areas of any hospital: blood supply.

Of late, many patients have been sent away from the hospital’s in-house blood bank. The reason? The hospital does not have proper equipment to conduct tests on the blood before supplying it to patients.

Sunita Gupta
Fighting to live: Sunita Gupta, who is undergoing treatment for blood cancer, faced difficulties getting blood from the bank

Over the past week, relatives of patients who have approached the blood bank seeking blood bags and white blood cells have had to go back empty-handed. The blood bank officials said that the hospital has run out of kits with which to conduct Hepatitis B and C tests on the available bloodstock in the hospital. It is mandatory to test available bloodstock for Hepatitis B and C before giving it to patients.

Sunita Gupta from Uttar Pradesh, admitted in KEM for the last one month, is suffering from blood cancer and needs the blood and white blood cells on a regular basis. Sunita’s father, Surender Gupta, said, “I have to go often to the blood bank whenever her doctor demands for blood, but here we are unable to get blood bags. We have to run around a lot because of this.”

Sanchita Mhatre another patient, said, “I needed blood to replenish my lowered haemoglobin percentage after delivery, but when I approached the blood bank of KEM hospital, they said there is the stock but that they don’t have proper equipments required to perform tests on the blood before providing it to patients in our bank. Finally my relatives arranged it from another place.”

Sangeeta Kasbekar, medical social worker in the hospital, said, “It is true that there is no kit in our department which is required to conduct tests to detect Hepatitis B and C in the blood. Barring this, it is very rare that people go empty handed from our blood bank. KEM blood bank not only provides blood to the hospital itself but also to other hospitals.”

“We give blood to every patient here, giving priority to cancer patients. Even now, bloodstock is available in the hospital but we can’t provide it to patients as it needs to be tested, for which there is no equipment in our department. This is why we have to say no to patients”, said an official from the blood bank department, requesting anonymity.

Sandhya Kamat, dean of KEM hospital, said, “I am not aware of this matter but I will look into it and comment later.” 

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