AAROHI Naik was diagnosed with brain tumour in January this year. In the past 10 months, the 16-month-old infant has required 10 transfusions of platelets to balance the side effects of chemotherapy. “There have been times when doctors have told us about urgent platelet requirement and we have lived in worry of supply,” said mother Shilpa Naik.
Addressing the needs of Naik and several other patients requiring platelet donation, the Tata Memorial Hospital’s (TMH) registry of platelet donor is set to get replicated in Pune, Chennai and Delhi to rope in more donors for patients undergoing cancer treatment specially chemotherapy, dengue management and pregnant women, who are about to deliver babies.
“The actual demand in India is 70,000 units of platelets and we do not have that many donors to fulfill that demand. Lack of platelet can also lead to death in certain cases,” said Dr Sunil Rajadhyaksha, head of transfusion medicine department at TMH.
According to Dr Rajan Badwe, Director at TMH, the hospital in 2009 started a registry to enroll donors along with Nargis Dutt Memorial Charitable Trust in colleges, institutions, and corporate houses. “From 20 per cent of the total demand in 2009, the supply rose to 71 per cent this year. More awareness can help in solving lack of platelet availability,” Badwe said.
The TMH registry has 2,280 donors enrolled. According to Dr Brijesh Arora, head of pediatric oncology department at TMH, the hospital’s model of registering people is now going to be replicated by AIIMS in Delhi and Deenanath Mangeshkar hospital, in Pune. Currently 48 blood banks are attached with the registry in the city. Doctors, however, also highlighted the need of having more blood banks with cell separator technique, a process to extract platelets from blood of a donor. Presently, only 12 blood banks have that facility in Mumbai.
In TMH alone, close to 25 units of platelets is required every day, more than the total requirement by all other hospitals combined in the city.