Public blood donation increases during the past couple months
THERE HAS been a general increase in blood donations from the public during the past months as compared to the same time period last year.
Although these statistics don’t necessarily point to the increase being connected to the outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus Dengue, they come within the backdrop of widespread social media appeals for blood donations for persons who have fallen ill with the virus.
There have been over 1000 confirmed cases of Dengue for 2020 so far, with at least six deaths being recorded from complications due to Dengue. According to the World Health Organization(WHO), “severe Dengue is a potentially fatal complication, due to plasma leaking, fluid accumulation, respiratory distress, severe bleeding, or organ impairment.”
There is no treatment for the infection itself but a person’s symptoms may be managed. In serious cases this may mean blood platelet transfusions.
“Blood is always needed, blood is needed every day; but in light of the Dengue there would have been more appeals made to the public and then you would have had more response made by the public based on the appeal,” senior laboratory technologist, Kamarla Questelles explained.
The blood bank at the Milto Cato Memorial Hospital(MCMH) assures that the demand for blood is always being met. As it concerns the public appeals on social media, the patients concerned will have received blood before persons come in to donate. However, donations are welcome as the hospital has been encouraging the general public to consider becoming regular donators.
“We welcome the increase all the time because we have been making appeals for Vincentians to give blood,” the laboratory technologist stated.
“There are persons who need blood every single day in the hospital and there are persons who would not have a family member, or a friend who will be willing or able to come give that blood,” she noted.
The system applied currently is a replacement system in which family members, friends “replace” the blood that was supplied to the patient.
“Nobody is dying because they don’t get blood, nobody is refused blood if the case required blood, but all patients are expected to bring family and friends to replace the blood that they may have gotten,” Questelles advises.
“That’s just how the
system is. And that system we are trying to move away from, by encouraging persons to just come and give freely to the blood bank,” she added.
Until that time, the hospital has a pool of voluntary donors that they may call on.
This year, from the period January to October there have been approximately 100 more donations as compared to the same period in 2019, and a general increase in the period August to October.
Nonetheless, the senior laboratory technologist noted that many circumstances affect the numbers.
“The demand is always great because we have increases of accidents, we have increases of violence, we have increases of kidney patients,” she reasoned.
SEARCHLIGHT visited the hospital the day after one of these social media appeals spread across the pages of concerned citizens, and a line of persons could be observed waiting outside of the blood bank.
The blood bank does not need the large numbers that respond to the appeals, the laboratory technologist explained, but the “surplus will actually go to persons who may not have persons to count for them or persons who may come in at a later date,” Questelles disclosed.
Persons considering donating blood may do so at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital(MCMH) blood bank, and the Modern Medical and Diagnostic Centre (MMDC) in Georgetown.
Individuals must be 17 years and above to do so, and past the antibiotic stage.
They must also have had a recent meal.
An interview process will be conducted and some of the queries made will be related to travel, vaccination, medical history and sexual lifestyle. Persons with tattoos can give blood, but questions will be asked about this, as well as other body modifications.
Blood levels will be analysed.
From this donation, packed red blood cells, platelets, and fresh frozen plasma may be prepared.