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Tout-blood bank nexus finger at NBMCH

Siliguri, Jan. 7: Relatives of a six-year-old boy admitted to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital have lodged a complaint with the superintendent alleging that they had to pay Rs 3,200 for a unit of fresh frozen plasma because of a nexus between the hospital blood bank employees and touts.

The hospital superintendent has filed an FIR with Matigara police on the issue.

Bhabesh Burman, from Khoribari in Siliguri subdivision, said his son Piyush was admitted to the paediatric ward on December 30 with kidney ailment. Doctors said the boy had nephritic syndrome and on Thursday, they requisitioned one unit of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) of the B positive blood group for Piyush.

“I went to the RBTC (Regional Blood Transfusion Centre) but was told that it did not have the required unit. The blood bank staff members asked me to come back with a donor of the same blood group so that they could separate the component,” Bhabesh said.

FFP is separated from blood samples at the blood bank.

“A tout, whom I had seen in the hospital before, said he could get me one unit of FFP if I gave him money but I did not agree. The next day, I took two relatives, who had donors’ cards, to the blood bank but the staff members refused to collect blood from them saying one was underweight and the other had a different blood group,” Bhabesh said.

He added that on Saturday, the blood bank employees told him that the blood component separation machine at the centre was out of order and FFP could not be supplied.

“That day, the tout approached me again and I agreed to pay him Rs 3,200 for the FFP. I paid him Rs 200 as advance and he promised to get the unit on Sunday,” said Bhabesh, a daily wage labourer.

On Sunday afternoon, the tout gave him the unit and a receipt issued by the RBTC. Bhabesh paid him Rs 3,000.

“I earn around Rs 150 a day and it is not enough to look after my family of five. I agreed to pay the tout because I had to save my son. I borrowed the money from relatives,” Bhabesh said. “But my wife Buli did not allow us to administer it. She said the unit might be contaminated as we did not know where it had come from.”

Doctors asked Piyush’s parents to check with the RBTC if they had issued the sample.

“Only after the staff members confirmed that the unit had been properly tested and issued by them, did we administer it,” said Chotton Saha, a junior doctor. “The problem of touts is a persistent one. It is time the hospital authorities take serious steps,” he added.

Yesterday, Bhabesh lodged a complaint with the hospital superintendent. “We were harassed for three days but the tout procured the FFP from the centre in just a day. There is definitely a nexus between the RBTC employees and touts. We have filed a complaint.”

Mridumoy Das, RBTC director, said it was difficult for them to identify touts. “We hold blood donation camps where we issue donors’ cards to all those who donate blood. This entitles one to a unit of blood or blood components from the RBTC, if we have stock. It is not possible for us to identify if those who come with donors’ cards are touts. The hospital should inform police,” he said.

Superintendent Amerandranath Sarkar said he had filed an FIR with Matigara police. “This is a serious allegation and I have lodged an FIR.”