TIRUCHY: After a very tepid response for plasma donation in Tiruchy, doctors and patients have raised a demand for a plasma bank to be set up at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital (MGMGH). A convalescent plasma therapy (CPT) programme was started in July by Dr A Mohamed Hakkim, an emergency physician, along with Uyir Thuli Blood Bank. Now, several private hospitals are using the CPT. Even then, only about 100 patients have donated plasma so far in Tiruchy, of which 60 were given in other districts.
Doctors are still not sure if CPT works or not, as several other medications are given to a patient along with plasma. However, they are sure that it does not cause any harm to the donor or the patient. "By giving plasma to a patient, you are going to do any harm. A sick patient may be given steroids, oxygen, Remdesivir, along with CPT. However, if we look at it from the recipients angle, earlier the plasma given, more is the chances of recovery," said Dr Senthilkumar Nallusamy.
Most private hospitals in Tiruchy have started using CPT, which has created a great demand. However, despite having 7301 recovered patients so far, less than 1.5% have donated plasma. For private hospitals, the cost of a CPT is also high, which means that only a few can afford it. Doctors also wonder that if Thanjavur could get a plasma bank, why not Tiruchy?
Dr Hakkim says that a single donor plasma pheresis kit costs anywhere between Rs 8,000-18,000. "We do a complete blood check up to ensure that the donor has recovered. We do a TruNat test as well as well as a detailed blood profile including HIV, hepatitis tests as we don't want any problem for the patient later.
These tests cost anywhere in between Rs 3,000-4,000. Therefore the cost of plasma is anywhere between Rs 10,000 to 20,000 for a patient," said Dr Hakkim.
Dr Hakkim and other doctors have been asking the government to set up a plasma bank so that more people can come forward. A 59 year old recovered patient, who was given plasma came forward to donate his plasma on Monday at Uyir Thuli. He urged everyone who had recovered to donate. "You are not going to be affected by it. Your immune system won't be affected. You can probably help save a life, so please come forward."