A Howrah businessman responded to a call to donate platelets to a 13-year-old boy fighting leukaemia who started bleeding from the nose because of low platelet count.
The Jharkhand boy is undergoing treatment at Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre and Research Institute in Thakurpukur with his mother by his side. Other members of his family have not been able to travel to the city because of the lockdown.
“I hope the boy recovers soon and is able to go home. I was at home because of the lockdown and I travelled just a few kilometres to give the platelets,” Prabhu Shaw, 35, said.
Shaw reached Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, where arrangements had been made for the donation, by car. “I got to know about the need for platelets from a volunteer, Hemant Vishwakarma, who alerted me in the afternoon about the boy’s need. I rushed as I was told the hospital’s blood bank might close for the day. It was important to give him the platelets today, I was told,” Shaw said.
He was screened at the hospital before the donation. The entire process took a couple of hours.
“I have donated blood on several occasions but this is the first time I donated platelets. I have been screened in the past but patients got other donors. This time I hope it is of use and the boy’s condition improves,” Shaw who lives with his parents, wife and children said.
“The single-donor platelet is taken from a single donor through a machine. It is equivalent to eight to 10 extracts from as many donors. Since the process takes more than an hour and uses a machine ,people are generally reluctant,” Arnab Gupta, director of the cancer hospital at Thakurpukur, said.
There has been a shortage of blood at blood banks, including the one in the Thakurpukur hospital, he said. “I had called up at least 10 blood banks in the city but there is an acute shortage. People are reluctant to come out and donate blood. My request is that those who are fit and have no recent history of travel or contact should donate blood,” Gupta said.
A social media post by the hospital director alerted a group of individuals who work with Project for Life, which is involved in resolving the shortage of blood.
“We try to facilitate the process so that a person doesn’t have to travel,” Varun Singh of Narayana Superspeciality Hospital said.
At the cancer hospital in Thakurpukur, a nurse, Moumita Dey, and a blood bank staff at the hospital, Kalyan Das, donated platelets for two patients.
Dey gave it for a patient she had been nursing and Das to a three-year-old girl whose grandmother stands every day outside the blood bank, asking for platelets.