“If I am able to save the life of even one person, I will count myself lucky.” That’s how 36-year-old Tabrez Khan, among the first plasma donors in the national capital, summed up his decision to volunteer for the procedure.
“We heard about plasma therapy and how it is saving lives of other coronavirus patients. That’s when I contacted the hospital. Doctors were quite happy and they explained the procedure to me,” said Tabrez, who had tested positive for COVID-19 on March 20 and, having recovered, reached out to the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences a month later.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has in the past appealed to those who recover to come forward and become plasma donors, Sunday said the pandemic is a reminder of the futility of religious barriers among people, and that plasma therapy works irrespective of the religion of the donor and the patient.
Kejriwal said a patient who was in a serious condition till Saturday night at Lok Nayak Hospital is showing signs of recovery after undergoing the therapy. Six more patients had undergone plasma therapy in Delhi government hospitals as part of clinical trials that, authorities said, were considerably successful.
“It occurred to me that tomorrow, the life of a Hindu patient, who is in serious condition, might be saved due to a Muslim’s plasma. Or a Muslim patient’s life will perhaps be saved due to the plasma of a Hindu. The almighty did not put up walls between us. Ye dharam, wo dharam, kisi prakar ki khai nahi paida ki, ye toh humne banayi hai (This religion, that religion, God did not create these divisions, we made them),” Kejriwal said Sunday.
“Corona affects both Hindus and Muslims. And the plasma of our body saves lives irrespective of religion. Then why have we created these walls? We should at least learn from the pandemic. If we work together, irrespective of religious differences, no force can defeat this country. But if we keep fighting among ourselves, there is no hope,” he said.
Tabrez, a resident of Jahangirpuri who was among the first 20 people to test positive in Delhi, too said he wanted to “spread love and brotherhood among people”. “The process is easy. Doctors conduct a series of tests before taking out plasma. The entire process took around two hours. Doctors told me that two patients have been administered my plasma and they are recovering. One of them has been shifted out of the ICU,” he said.
Speaking to The Indian Express earlier, Dr S K Sarin, head of ILBS who is also leading the Delhi government’s COVID-19 task force, had said: “The only qualification we need from the donor is that he/she should be between 18-60 years of age, having no diabetes or blood pressure. He/she should have crossed three weeks (after recovering) and tested negative for COVID-19 twice.”
Tabrez had contracted the infection from his 38-year-old sister, who returned from Saudi Arabia. Several cases in Dilshad Garden and Jahangirpuri had been traced back to her, including two mohalla clinic doctors who tested positive. “Two of my nieces, my sister, a friend and his wife, who tested positive, also want to donate plasma. However, my sister and nieces are in quarantine now and are waiting for it to end,” he said.
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