Published On : Fri, Nov 6th, 2015

Dengue deaths rising but blood unavailable in GMC Blood bank

Touts of private banks selling it in ‘black’

Nagpur: The Government Medical College and Hospital was once the pride of Nagpur. We liked to point it out to our visitors as Asia’s biggest hospital! That was the destination where not just poor people went for treatment but even well to do citizens of Nagpur trusted in this hospital for their critically sick near ones. It was supposed to have the city’s best Doctors working there, at least as consultants and all other facilities were available at reasonable price, which people could afford. Like its Blood Bank.  When you are treating hundreds of patients, it is imperative you have an in house blood bank, which GMC has had since time immemorial. But like its other services, this too is becoming a problem now.

There is a great paucity of blood.  Platelets, plasma etc.  ( required for treating some disorders like the dreaded dengue and burn victims ) are not available at all and the shocking fact has come to light that knowing this situation in GMC touts of private blood banks are roaming the corridors of this government hospital enticing patients’ relatives to their respective blood banks to buy precious life saving blood and blood derivatives.

The situation is like this since June this year when FDA authorities inspecting the blood bank found  it defaulting and not meeting set standards on 39 counts. A notice was sent to GMC about it. Accordingly, GMC authorities rectified some of the short comings and informed FDA accordingly which made another inspection in August 2015. They were still not satisfied and took the extreme step of temporarily closing the blood bank. This happened on 28 th October. This created extreme hardship to patients admitted in GMC so FDA took back the closure order but has prevented the process of blood separation. Thus plasma, platelets, RBC etc. not available. Even blood of all groups not readily available.

This, when the hospital beds are full with the dreaded dengue patients, H1N1 has reared its head again and other ailments are also in full swing because of vagaries of weather. When patients relatives realize blood will not be available in the hospital blood bank they become desperate, because often their loved one’s life is at stake, and this is when the touts approach them with promise of getting the required blood but with added cost. When the situation is critical, these touts must be coming across as Agents of God extending a helping hand – cost does not matter at that point. It is this desperation that is being encashed. The surprising thing is even guards deployed at GMC are letting these touts have a free run of the hospital corridors and premises.

The irony is that GMC has received new and modern equipment worth lakhs recently. Many of them have been set up but due to the imbroglio between GMC and FDA they are not being used. Neither of them is willing to walk the extra mile and sort out differences.

Meanwhile, when this serious lapse of touts entering GMC premises was brought to the notice of Dr. Niswade, Dean, he has promised to look into the matter and has asked affected relatives to come forward with information.

But with conditions being as they are, will they be willing to risk this step?