‘Have to wait 4-5 hours to get plasma’

Many people who approached the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) to get plasma for their family members or friends infected by COVID-19 said that the process at the hospital was smooth but they had to spend about “four-five hours” to get the alleged life-saving fluid.

They further said that finding a replacement donor to get plasma of required blood group from the ILBS proved to be difficult.

Relatives of patients said that the government should step in and help them find replacement donors.

Delhi’s first convalescent plasma bank for COVID-19 was started at the government-run ILBS over four months ago and the institute has since then issued more than 3,000 units of plasma.

If a person needs plasma for a friend or a family member who is suffering from COVID-19, then he/she has to find a replacement donor of any other blood group and approach ILBS for plasma of the required blood group.

The person has to get approval from the hospital in which the patient is admitted for getting plasma from ILBS.

After coming to the institute, the donor will be tested and can donate only if he has the required level of antibodies, even if he meets all other criteria.

Around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Kapil Israni, 44, was waiting near the emergency ward of ILBS with a white insulated box in his hands while his sister was busy on a call. “We were struggling to find a donor and may have just got one,” he said, referring to the phone call his sister was on.

Mr. Israni’s sister’s mother-in-law is admitted at a city hospital and they have come to get a second unit of plasma for her.

“The process is not bad here, they are very helpful. But finding replacement donors is difficult. We are still lucky as my cousin works at a hospital and she helped us.”

The box was to carry blood samples of the patient to ILBS and also take back the plasma.

Dheeraj Gureja, 40, from Ghaziabad, who was sitting on a raised platform outside the emergency ward said that he has been waiting for about two and a half hours and the process has to be made quicker.

“I have come from Ghaziabad and my father is in the ICU. There should be more counters to manage the process here and more manpower too,” he said.

Others also said that the process was smooth but it was time consuming.

‘Few voluntary donors’

“Many times, people come to us for plasma of rare blood groups such as AB, which is difficult as our stocks are also not so high. Voluntary donations are very low and its mostly replacement donors that come to us. For every 30-40 replacement donors, there are only 2-5 voluntary donors,” ILBS director S.K. Sarin told The Hindu.

Voluntary donors are people who donate plasma without the requirement of plasma of another blood group for a patient.

When asked about the wait time of about five hours at ILBS to get plasma, Dr. Sarin said: “First, we test the donor's blood for diseases. Then we test his blood for antibodies (against COVID-19). That is why the process takes time.”

Though conditions say a replacement donor is needed to get plasma, Mr. Israni said that they had got the first plasma unit for the patient from ILBS without a replacement donor, after giving an undertaking that they will bring a donor later on.

“Today, we have come for a second unit of plasma and we are trying to arrange two donors as we have given an undertaking,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 15, 2021 11:54:36 PM |

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