KOLKATA: A rare incidence of camaraderie for a cause was witnessed as three different eastern
Indian cities came together to ensure safe birth of twin girls from a town in northeast India.
Blood donation organisations from Kolkata in West Bengal and Ranchi and Jamshedpur in Jharkhand came together to ensure two units of rare blood group type 'Bombay group' or H/H blood group to newborn twin daughters of Anjana Tirkey and her husband Justin Paul Nongkyrny, a staffer of North East Hill University in Shillong, Meghalaya.
Justin was told by doctors that two units of the rare 'Bombay group' were needed during ceasarean birth of their twin daughters or the life of the mother would be in danger due to blood loss.
However, despite contacting major blood banks in Meghalaya, he could not find any registered Bombay group blood donor in his state. Finally, he contacted blood groups in eastern metropolis Kolkata, who
then looked for the rare blood group with their counterparts in Jharkhand and located two donors who got ready to give one unit of blood each to save the newborns.
Accordingly, Vinay Toppo from Ranchi and Amitabh Kumar from Jamshedpur came to Kolkata on Thursday afternoon and donated one unit of blood each. Justin took the samples and returned to Shillong via Guwahati airport the same day in the evening.
By the time he returned to his wife, the twin daughters were already born. The two units of blood were pushed into Anjana's veins to make up for the blood loss. Both the daughters and the mother are
Doctor Ajay Paul of Kolkata feels the rare blood samples from Jharkhand were just in time. "It was a great act of humanity by the blood donors. Had the rare blood group not been delivered on time, Anjana could have died," he said.
"It is one in a million group and needs to be stored in major blood banks of all the states. The blood group type is even rarer in austroasiatic Khasis which explains why Justin did not get the blood group type in Shillong," he said.
Similar camaraderie was observed in Mumbai in June this year when youngsters got together to arrange for the 'Bombay group' blood samples for a Bangladeshi man, who had landed directly to Mumbai on
hearing the need the rare blood group to save his life.
Also, in August entire Tamil Nadu got together to ensure successful coronary artery bypass surgery of 52-year-old G Sakthivel of Madurai.
However, with no proper mechanism to ensure good storage of H/H blood group or Bombay blood group in blood banks, the patients with the rare blood group always have to depend on the mercy of goodwill.
What is Bombay group?
Discovered among Mumbaikars in 1952 by Dr Y M Bhende, the H/H blood group doesn't express H antigen present in blood group O positive, the universal donor group. As a result, it can't make A antigen or B antigen. For this reason, people with Bombay group can donate blood to ABO blood groups but can't receive blood from them as they have H antigen, which will not be compatible. Hence, they can receive blood only from people with Bombay group blood.