Dengue fever cases have increased in the district during the last three days. In the district, more than 50 instances are recorded every day. In the middle of this, the Civil Hospital’s apheresis equipment has broken down. The apheresis machine separates blood from donors into plasma, platelets, white and red blood cells, and other components.
If the Civil Hospital’s blood bank has enough blood units on hand, random donor platelets can be processed and supplied to patients. If there isn’t enough supply, patients have no choice except to go to private hospitals and receive single donor platelets.
Random donor platelets are prepared from donated blood within four to six hours of collection. Single donor platelets are obtained from one donor and prepared by an apheresis machine.
The machine bought for Rs42 lakh 10 years ago is not in the working condition from the past four years. Patients are now paying double the price for platelets at private hospitals.
Blood Transfusion Officer of the Civil Hospital, Dr Gurinderdeep Singh Grewal, said, “The machine needs regular servicing. It is not functional at present.”
“We give patients random donor platelets if available. Patients coming to us are those, who cannot afford costly treatment. In case the need for apheresis machine arises, a patient first will have to arrange a donor and pay Rs9,000 as processing charges, which many are generally unable to afford. The OPD and blood are given free of cost to patients,” said Dr Grewal.
A family of a patient admitted to the Civil Hospital, who needed blood platelets, said random donor platelets were not available and neither the facility for single donor platelets. “So, we shifted our patient to a private hospital,” the family added.