As elective surgeries pick up in city, blood banks struggle to find donors

As hospitals have begun performing more elective surgeries and procedures after the decline in COVID-19 cases, the demand for blood for the procedures has also increased.
Representative Image
Representative Image

Chennai

However, as the number of donors is much lower than before, the blood banks at government hospitals are dependent on special blood donation camps to meet the demand. The government and private hospitals in the city have started non-emergency medical services as the number of pandemic cases has come down.
“With increase in the number of road traffic accidents, elective surgeries, pregnancy and obstetrics procedures, the demand for blood has increased. The highest number of cases that require blood are pregnancy cases, where the family members usually volunteer to donate,” said Dr Doraisamy, head of department of blood transfusion and blood bank, Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital.
As the number of donors has fallen when compared to situation prior to the second wave, most of the procedures are being managed with the help of organisations that conduct special camps. “We are dependent on them to keep the supply on a par with the increasing demand. Volunteers coming to blood banks also help,” he said.
Private blood banks are also seeing an increase in demand for emergency procedures and elective surgeries. But they too don’t receive as many donors as earlier, which makes it difficult to arrange the required blood groups. According to R Devaki, general manager, Victory Blood Bank in Aminjikarai, the number of blood donation camps has gone down by 70-80 per cent these days.
“The demand has increased, but we don’t have the option of conducting private camps. The regular donors have reduced, and after vaccination drive, even the number of voluntary donors have also reduced. We are totally dependent on voluntary donors and we are even going through the database to check for eligible donors,” Devaki said. Blood bank representatives added that the eligibility criteria have also been revised due to COVID. Due to this, many of the voluntary donors are rejected because of their infection status. Dr S Subhash, joint director (Blood Safety), Tamil Nadu State Blood Transfusion Council, said permission has been sought for conducting blood donation camps to meet the increased demand. People should be encouraged to donate blood before they get vaccinated, he added.

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