THE STATE Blood Transfusion Council (SBTC) has issued a notice to Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General (LTMG) hospital blood bank seeking an explanation why a few thalassemia patients had to pay for blood when it was supposed to be provided free of charge to them.
“We asked the blood bank to provide an explanation. Thalassemia patients can get free blood at any blood bank. There were reports that a ward boy asked parents of children with thalassemia to pay money in exchange of blood units,” said Dr Arun Thorat, in-charge of SBTC that monitors blood banks and their practices.
The Covid-19 pandemic has created an acute shortage of blood with usual donors refraining from donation due to risk of coronavirus infection. Thalassemia patients require blood once or twice every month. On October 17, The Indian Express reported that despite a state government resolution allowing such patients to get blood free of charge from banks, since March all patients have been forced to find donors to replace the blood units taken from banks.
According to Rahul Salve, who works for thalassemia patients, in a few cases, patients have been asked to pay under the table in exchange for blood units. Salve reported the matter to Sion hospital dean Dr Mohan Joshi.
When contacted, Joshi said, “The incident of the bribe was actually a tip that a patient gave ward boy last year. The ward boy was transferred subsequently. There is no case now.”
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