Just like what happened in July last year, the blood bank at civic-run YCM Hospital has once again run out of stock of plasma which is administered to seriously-ill Covid-19 patients. The PCMC health department has appealed to citizens who have recovered from coronavirus to step forward and donate plasma to “help save lives”.
Dr Shankar Masolgi, who heads the blood bank at YCM hospital, said they have run out of plasma stock due to high demand from hospitals across Pimpri-Chinchwad.
“There is a demand for 50 bags every day. But we are able to churn out only 20 bags daily. The YCMH blood bank provides plasma not only for patients in civic hospitals but also private hospitals. For civic hospitals, plasma is provided free but for private hospitals, we charge Rs 6000 for each bag,” he said.
Dr Aniket Lathi, who handled plasma therapy at YCM hospital in the past, said, “In February, Pimpri-Chinchwad had fewer patients. Not many came forward to donate plasma. Plasma is effective for 28 days after a patient has recovered from Covid-19. But not beyond that.”
Dr Masolgi said from last March till March this year, only 1200 people have come forward to donate their plasma. “Over 1 lakh have recovered from Covid but not many are coming forward to donate plasma. We have been trying to create awareness and have been regularly issuing appeals to people to donate through social media and newspapers but not many are coming forward,” he said.
Doctors at the blood bank said some citizens have misconceptions about plasma donation. “They think when they have just recovered from an illness, why should they donate blood. It is not actually blood donation. We take out plasma from the blood, which is then restored into the patient’s body. Plasma has antibodies which is beneficial for a seriously-ill patient. Whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, patients who have recovered can donate plasma after around one month,” Dr Masolgi said.
Doctors at YCMH said plasma therapy is given to seriously ill patient. “Convalescent plasma therapy is being used as the last option but all other alternatives have failed,” a doctor treating Covid patients at YCM hospital said.
In an appeal, PCMC health chief Dr Anil Roy said, “Those citizens who have recovered from Covid-19 and have completed at least a month should come forward, donate their plasma and save lives.”