COIMBATORE: In a rare coincidence, two women admitted to the gynaecology ward in the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) have been identified with Bombay Blood group.
Pandiammal, a 47-year-old woman from Tirupur, had come to the out-patient ward of the CMCH last week with suspected tumour mass in her ovary. When doctors tested her blood as part of a routine medical examination, they found she had Bombay ‘O’ positive blood.
Coincidentally, during the same week, Parvathy, a 40-year-old from Pappanaickenpalayam here was also referred to the OP ward of hospital with suspected tumour and routine blood grouping revealed she also had Bombay ‘O’ positive.
Bombay blood is a rare group and is generally present in only about four in a million across the world. Bombay blood, named so because it was discovered first in Bombay in 1952 and presently one in 10,000 people in Mumbai have been identified with this group.
CMCH Dean A Edwin Joe said that in most cases, this group is mistaken to be ‘O’ positive. It is also difficult to detect this blood group with normal tests as it demands technical expertise.
With only 14 donors identified with this blood group in western and southern districts of Coimbatore, Madurai, Salem and Dharmapuri, blood banks are running out of stock. Surgery for these two women would be difficult. Out of the 14, seven were recently identified in CMCH blood bank.
Dr A Mangaiyarkarasi, Head of Blood Bank in CMCH, said absence of donors has been a problem in such cases and need of the hour is to create more awareness on forming societies locally so that a proper system to collect blood during emergencies can be established. As of now, two people from Annur, who were earlier detected with Bombay blood group in 2012, have given their consent but no decision has been taken yet regarding the surgeries, she added. Individuals with the Bombay phenotype (hh) do not express H antigen, the antigen which is present in blood group ‘O’. As a result, they cannot make A antigen or B antigen on their red blood cells, whatever alleles they may have of the A and B blood-group genes, because A antigen and B antigen are made from H antigen. Hence, people who have this phenotype can donate blood to any group.