RTI reveals rampant wastage of donated blood in Mumbai hospital

Apr 17, 2014, 07:21 IST | Anuradha Varanasi

The reply to a query filed by a doctor has revealed that in 2012 and 2013, a total of 93 litres of the life-saving substance reached expiration date before use in Cama and Albless Hospital

While citizens are encouraged to donate blood and blood donation camps dot the city’s charitable events calendar, the reply to an RTI query filed by a doctor has revealed that in the past two years, 93 litres of precious blood 266 blood bags, that is went to waste in Cama and Albless Hospital in Fort.

With each blood bag costing R450, the expired blood bags cost a total of Rs 1,19,700. The in-charge of the blood bank attributed the wastage to the unpredictability involved in the requirement of blood of different groups.

Blood donation camps are frequently held across the city, where citizens are encouraged to donate, so that the dire shortage faced by hospitals can be met. Ironically, several blood bags ended up gathering dust in state-run Cama and Albless hospital’s blood bank in the years 2012 and 2013.

The RTI reply revealed that in the year 2012, as many as 176 blood bags expired in the hospital, while in 2013, another 90 blood bags expired. Each blood bag contains 350 ml of blood, meaning that 93 litres of blood was lost in these years – blood that could have saved lives, if there had been better coordination between different blood banks in the city.

“From these figures, it can be derived that in 2012 around 18 per cent of the blood collected was wasted, and eight per cent the following next year,” said the doctor, requesting anonymity. “This means that in the last two years, for every six bags issued, one blood bag was wasted,” he added. The RTI reply says that from February to the year-end in 2012, out of the 956 blood bags collected, 176 didn’t reach patients.

In 2013, another 90 blood bags were still lying in the bank when they crossed their expiration date. This, after 44.45 litres of whole blood and 918 litres of plasma were wasted in the state-run St George Hospital in Fort between January 2012 and August 2013.

The other side
Cama and Albless Hospital’s blood bank in-charge Dr Vikas Maindad said, “We can use blood bags only for a certain period of time, before the blood expires.

It is difficult to predict when there will be requirement of certain blood groups, and there are times when we get more blood bags of a certain blood group, for which there isn’t any requirement.

There are times we have roughly 10 per cent more blood bags of a specific blood group, and then our social worker coordinates with other blood banks to see if there is a requirement.”

Dr Rajashri Katke, medical superintendent of the hospital, said, “I am unaware of any such RTI reply. I doubt that there is any wastage. When we have extra blood bags, we send them to other hospital’s blood banks.”

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