Hospital, a referral centre for patients in Tiruchi, other districts

Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital attached to K.A.P.Viswanatham Government Medical College has been issued a licence to operate a blood component separator that could retrieve platelets and other components.

The licence comes after a long wait at a time when an influx of dengue patients over the last few months increased the demand for platelet transfusions. As reported earlier in The Hindu, the hospital had acquired a blood component separator some time ago but was unable to operate it due to a pending licence.

The medical college hospital, a referral centre for patients from hospitals in Tiruchi and neighbouring districts, was borrowing around 40 units of platelets a day from government medical college hospitals in Madurai and Thanjavur before the licence was granted.

The licence has been issued by the Ministry of Health, Central government, confirmed A.Karthikeyan, dean of the medical college hospital. Platelets are being separated according to daily demand since Saturday and there was no need to transport platelets from other centres, he added. “Around 40 students a day from Bharathidasan University and its affiliated colleges have volunteered to donate blood till the dengue fever dies out,” said the dean, explaining the method adopted by the hospital to ensure adequate stock of blood.

Platelet transfusions are prescribed when there is a drop in platelet count, an indication associated with dengue.

Transfusions are done in case of platelet count dropping below 20,000, rapid decline of platelet count, when bleeding sets in, or the patient tends to develop complications, said a senior pathologist. There are only a handful of private blood banks that hold a licence to operate blood component separators.