The Government Stanley Medical College Hospital is all set to expand its infrastructure, giving a boost to transfusion medicine in the city.

About two weeks ago, work began on building an additional floor for the hospital’s department of transfusion medicine. It will house an auditorium, a research laboratory, a library and a quality control laboratory, said N. Rajkumar, professor and head of the department.

This apart, the department will also get a host of new equipment and intends to begin high-end procedures such as stem cell therapy, Dr. Rajkumar said.

“Presently, the department is housed in the ground floor. The construction of the first floor measuring about 6,750 square feet is being taken up at a cost of Rs. 1.3 crore. The work is expected to be completed in about six months,” he said.

Funds for the expansion were sanctioned from the Local Area Development fund of Member of Legislative Assembly (Royapuram), D. Jayakumar, he added.

A programme was held recently to mark the commencement of the construction work, in which MLA Jayakumar and dean of the hospital S. Geethalakshmi took part.

The department’s expansion is especially important in the light of the kind of treatment it can offer with its upgraded equipment.

“Until now, we followed the conventional method of blood component separation, with a refrigerated centrifuge. Now, we are planning to have an automated refrigerated component separator as well as a cell separator. We are also planning to start stem cell therapy,” Dr. Rajkumar said.

The cell separator, he said, could be used for both component separation as well as for treatments such as therapeutic plasmapheresis for auto immune diseases and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

The cell separator will also pave the way for single donor platelet collections.

“Usually, we have to use blood from four or five donors in order to obtain the required number of platelets. This cell separator will allow us to collect 50,000 platelets from a single donor as against 10,000 platelets in the conventional method. The patient is exposed only to one donor making the incidence of transfusion-transmitted diseases lower,” Dr. Rajakumar explained.

Increasing the platelet count is necessary to treat diseases such as dengue, he added.

The Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project will provide the blood component separator worth around Rs. 22 lakh for the department, hospital dean Dr. Geethalakshmi said. “Once these facilities have been set up, we will have a very high-end blood bank here. We will also have a laboratory for stem cell therapy,” she said.

K. Selvarajan, former professor of transfusion medicine at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital said, “While performing cadaver/brain dead organ transplants, Stanley Hospital would generally send donors to GH for the collection of platelets. This was an inconvenience. With these new facilities, the hospital can do its own platelet collection, making the procedure easier all around.”

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