Dealing with tainted blood
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The report that the Department of Health has confirmed that out of 78 units of the blood donated to the Philippine National Red Cross lately, 22 units had been found to be positive for the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, is very alarming, to say the least.
The reports would be cause for apprehension even in the most normal of times, but it is more so now, with the growing number of dengue cases in various parts of the country, especially in Luzon and Mindanao. This is because dengue is believed to be one of the diseases that still do not have any definite drug or medicine we could call as a cure. So far, what most medical practitioners rely on to counter its effects on affected patients is the transfusion of human blood, blood that can only be acquired through donations from people who are kind enough and generous enough, to share theirs.
But the report that so much of the blood collected and supposed to be on standby for use on dengue-affected patients is a strong cause for concern, especially among those who have patients now being treated for dengue symptoms. How can they be sure that the blood to be transfused to them is safe? What if it is not, and their patient recovers from dengue, but gets infected with an even more dangerous diseases?
The risk is apparently present, especially in some hospitals or blood clinics that do not have the facilities to immediately check, and check accurately, whether the blood they collect regularly are safe and free of any other virus that could easily effect a patient whose system is already weakened by another ailment.
It is also puzzling to note that the discovery of tainted blood had been made after such a big volume had already been acquired. This suggests that no pre-testing of the donor’s physical condition, or of his blood sample had been conducted before the bloodletting. We hope this angle will be looked into by the Health Department and that steps are taken to correct the present practice, if it does not require this yet. The dangers are too great to be ignored.*