Hyderabad: The relatives of some patients, admitted in hospitals with suspected dengue, are “booking” blood in advance, according to health officials.
A health official at a blood bank said this was being done by people who have connections with the hospital industry like administration officials, para-medical staff and suppliers of medical equipment.
“They are able to tap the technicians and get the details of the stock of blood and are requesting ‘booking’ of blood in case it is required for transfusion,” he said. These relatives pay an advance of Rs 200 on a blood bottle that costs Rs 700 each.
No complaints have been registered against this practice, he said. A hospital administration official said, “Patients who are hospitalised for dengue have relatives who are booking blood in advance. While this practice is not justified, people are using influence and getting the packets blocked. Due to this a perceived shortage is created, which is wrong.”
Officials at private hospitals said more than 10 in-patients were being admitted per hospital for dengue. If it was needed, they would have to be administered blood of the same group; the universal donor group O is given in an emergency.
The rush is creating a shortage of rare blood groups like B-negative. The attendants of patients who require transfusion of this blood group have to go from one blood bank to another.
General physician Dr K.R. Shanker said, “Platelets of the same blood group are preferred as the recovery is faster. In case of emergency, the alternative options have to be looked into.”
Often blood banks maintain a list of donors with rare blood groups who can be contacted in an emergency. Appeals are put out on social media as well.
But not all patients with dengue require transfusion; only those with a platelet count below 15,000 to 20,000 require it.
“Transfusions are done when the platelet count is 40,000 without any internal bleeding, which is not required,” a doctor said. “New protocols state that the body can recover even if the platelet count falls to 15,000,” the doctor said....