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Belated action against 'rogue' blood bank

JUNE 6 COMPLAINT OF LAW UNIVERSITY STUDENT SPURS DRUG CONTROL DEPARTMENT NOW

BAD BLOOD: Jharkhand Blood Bank in Bariatu, Ranchi. Picture by Hardeep Singh

Ranchi: The state drug control department suspended the licence of a privately-run blood bank on Wednesday after investigations confirmed allegations that it was conducting transfusions without conducting mandatory tests in collusion with a private hospital.

Deputy director of the drug control department Surendra Kumar Zont said the licence of Jharkhand Blood Bank at Bariatu had been suspended for 60 days.

"The action was taken under section 122 O&P of Drug and Cosmetic Act-1940 and Rules 1945," he said, adding that the blood bank was made co-accused in an FIR filed against General Hospital and Research Centre at Kanke on the basis of a June 6 complaint by a student donor of National University of Study and Research in Law.

"We filed a police complaint after enquiries revealed that both the blood bank and hospital were guilty of conducting transfusions in violation of rules," Zont told The Telegraph.

The law university student, in his complaint, alleged that the technician from the blood bank did not follow prescribed norms while collecting blood. He alleged that the hospital did not conduct mandatory tests, like ELISA, before conducting blood transfusion.

The student and his friends also recorded the entire procedure on their mobiles.

Zont ascribed the department's delay in taking action to the hospital and blood bank moving a bail petition in a local court. "We wanted to see what orders the court would pass, but so far nothing has happened," he said.

He also revealed that the blood bank, set up in 2004 with a capacity to store 100 units, had faced similar action in the past.

Health workers welcomed the move, with some suggestion that action against Jharkhand Blood Bank was long overdue.

An official of Jharkhand State Aids Control Society (JSACS) said it should be banned from functioning.

"In 2008, a state probe against blood banks recommended that this blood bank be shut down immediately. Apparently the team found all manner of violations. There was no power backup for the fridge, which meant blood samples could be ruined, there were cockroaches crawling all over and there were no records of donors. But nothing happened," he alleged.

Atul Gera of Life Saver's claimed the suspension notice was eyewash.

"Jharkhand High Court is hearing a PIL in connection with safe blood transfusions and other rules. It has rapped the state on many counts. Therefore, to avoid any further embarrassment, this action has been taken, that too after so long," he said.

A senior official of Jharkhand Blood Bank said they had not received the suspension notice as yet but claimed they have been following all norms.

"We haven't received the letter of suspension. We shall take a call on our future course of our action after we get it," said Raghevendra Mohan.

Ranchi has over half a dozen blood banks, namely, Birsa Blood Bank at Bariatu and those running at Nagarmal Modi Seva Sadan Hospital, RIMS, Central Coalfields Hospital at Gandhinagar and Medanta Hospital at Ormanjhi, Red Cross Society.

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