DDU Shimla hospital throwing away donated blood, but not giving it to needy: NGO

SHIMLA- The State Blood Bank at Deendayal Upadhyay (DDU) Hospital, Shimla still continues to throw away a large amount of precious blood despite complaint lodged by an NGO a couple of weeks ago. Surprisingly, the DDU administration and the HP government are not showing any interest toward such a apathetic and heinous act.

According to an RTI reply, as many as 31 units of blood were discarded in the month of May. Allegedly, the blood was left to expire, but was not given to the needy in nearby Indira Gandhi Medical College Blood Bank which faces persistent scarcity of the life fluid.

In a press conference on Sunday, Jai Shirviastva, Chairman of Umang Foundation, again urged the government to inquire the nexus between the Director of Health Services (DHS) and the blood bank in-charge. Both are trying to cover-up the matter without verifying the facts. He demanded immediate suspension of the blood bank incharge who deliberately wasted the blood.

Further, it was alleged that the Directorate of Health Services is solely responsible for failed state of blood banking services in Himachal Pradesh. The State Blood Transfusion Council, formed after a verdict given in 1996 by the Supreme Court of India to effectively manage the blood banks, is totally defunct leaving blood banking system in a miserable state.

Three weeks ago Srivastava had exposed the corrupt practices of the DDU blood bank. He had revealed that over 20 units were thrown into dustbin between March and April. However, the blood bank still continued to throw away the blood Surprisingly, the Director of Health did not bother to get his facts right and misled the public by telling media that it was a “routine matter and required no enquiry”.

After the NGO wrote to the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh demanding an inquiry, the government intervened and ordered the probe. The inquiry committee is yet to submit its report.

As per the RTI, a total of 31 units of blood, including seven units on May 4, five units on May 13, nine units on May 16 and 10 units on May 20 were discarded. The blood discarded on May 13 and May 16 was wrongly marked as ‘quantity not sufficient’ in the disposal register. The blood was 35 days old. However, as per the standard practice, the blood bags with insufficient quantity are supposed to be discarded immediately and not kept in blood bank to expire. The blood bank made wrong entries in the register in order to conceal the facts.

The NGO demanded that the blood banks at DDU hospital and Kamla Nehru Hospital should be converted into blood-storage centres and the staff should be shifted to Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) Blood Bank. He said that there is no rationale to run two small separate blood banks in the town. Instead, the government should strengthen the IGMC blood bank which can easily cater the needs of DDU Hospital and Kamla Nehru Hospital through the storage centres.

The average blood consumption of DDU hospital is about 32 units per month, while the consumption at Kamla Nehru is about 170 units. However, the consumption at IGMC is more than 1250 units in a month and its blood bank is under-staffed.

The act of DDU Blood Bank is a blot on the blood banking system and a great setback to voluntary blood donation movement, Shrivastva added.

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