The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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State hospitals to build rare-blood data bank

Calcutta, Jan. 24: The government has issued instructions to hospitals with blood banks to draw up a list of donors with negative groups.

As the negative blood groups are rare, the health department intends to maintain an information bank which will have the donors’ names and addresses. As many as 58 government-run blood banks are housed in various hospitals.

Director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee said at Writers’ Buildings that the information bank will eventually save patients’ parties from running from pillar to post for blood groups like O negative and AB negative.

“We often face this situation in hospitals, particularly those in the districts. We have seen relatives of patients running around for a pouch of blood belonging to negative group, and the blood bank could not supply it. Only three to four per cent of the population have negative blood groups. So we decided to build up the information bank,” Chatterjee said.

He said the government would discourage those belonging to the negative blood groups from donating blood frequently. Once the information bank has enough data, a copy of the list of names and addresses of negative blood group donors will be sent by the hospitals to organisers of blood donation camps in their respective areas.

“The organisers will be asked to discourage a negative donor from donating blood. We will give the names and addresses of these negative donors to the patient parties in need of O negative or AB negative blood,” Chatterjee said.

The health department will also launch a campaign to remove a misconception that “fresh blood” is required for patients undergoing a major operation.

“For instance, in a surgery which involves blood loss, doctors often ask the patient party to keep three or four friends or relatives at hand for donating fresh blood. But mark my words, there is no such thing as fresh blood. The blood preserved in pouches in blood banks is equally fresh,” Chatterjee said.

He said that some doctors are of the opinion that the platelets (which help blood to clot during cuts and injuries) in blood are destroyed if the blood is stored for over 48 hours.

“This notion is not true. A person who needs blood after a surgery will not require platelets but red blood cells. It is important that he be given blood even if the platelets in it are destroyed,” he added.

He said the health department would conduct workshops for doctors.

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