Blood Relatives…WHO?



“Sir there is a rupture uterus. She is looking very pale. We are arranging for blood. The anesthetists have been called” – it was a typical call from one of the junior doctor on duty from the labor room in the middle of the night. Such calls instantly awaken and put the consultant-on-duty in alert mode.  As I accelerated my car on the nearly deserted roads in the middle of the night, I did a mental rehearsal of what all complications and challenges I was likely to face and what all should be done. No wonder rupture uterus is called “electric emergency in obstetrics”. It is a potentially catastrophic event during childbirth by which the integrity of the uterus is breached. It is a life-threatening event for mother and baby.
Rupture uterus: Baby dead, mother endangered
As I was racing up the stairs to the labor room operation theater, I passed a junior doctor. He was obviously breathless hurrying back from the blood-bank carrying two units of blood in his hands. It must be for that patient in shock. I asked him “Why did you go personally?” The reply as expected: “Sir, all relatives have disappeared as soon as we told them to replace blood. The helping staff in the operation theater is very busy helping the doctors as this patient is critically bad. So I went personally. She may die, sir!” (We had a system in the hospital for patients requiring blood transfusion wherein relatives were encouraged to replace blood.)
Blood bag

Once in surgery, I quickly did what was to be done and the patient stabilized. As I looked up from the surgical field, I saw two units of blood running fast into her veins. I could also see two more units of blood ready to be transfused once these got over. I inquired “Who amongst you gave blood for this since the relatives have disappeared?” As expected two were donated by the junior doctors who were actually assisting the surgery and two others were from undergraduate M.B.B.S students who were watching the surgery. Such a routine scenario! We all had a knowing smile on our faces.

Blood donor's smile

Surgery successfully over, I came out of the operation theater and while I was descrubbing I requested the nursing staff to call the relatives of the patient. I wanted to brief them about the condition of the patient. The nurse meekly said: “Sir she has no relatives”. I could guess that she must have seen the picture of no one coming forward as a relative of the patient when blood replacement must have been asked for surgery. I smiled cryptically. I went to the area where relatives of patients wait and just announced: “Who all are the relatives of Mrs. X (Name hidden)? She is out of danger now!” and like a miracle 15 to 20 apparently healthy and young people sprung up: “Sir we all”! I briefed them. Then I said “She will require two more units of blood. She has lost blood considerably”. Immediately most in the group stepped back. From the corner of my eyes I could see some of them actually leaving. Only two remained who immediately blurted in chorus: “Sir we are not her blood-relatives. We are just neighbors”. “Who is her blood relative then?” An absolutely frail looking old woman was forwarded by them “She sir, only she”. “No other blood relatives?” I smilingly asked. Their eyes went blank and as if aimlessly they started looking at the junior doctors who were standing with me!
Ironical smile

As I started my car to go back home I couldn't help wondering: who were her relatives – her husband? her brothers? sisters? uncles? aunts? parents? or the doctors who rushed to save her life with their own blood - donated blood for her, came and assisted in surgery and will now take care of her all throughout till she goes home?  This idea just looped in my mind again and again that night “Blood relatives who?”

    

Comments

  1. Priyatha Anand commented this on the blog in Facebook: Awesome...

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  2. Mamta Sahu commented this on the blog in Facebook: So nicely depicted.... We all have gone through this some time or the other...

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  3. Nice sir! Routine scenario faced by all of us so many times. luckily in Gujarat and particularly in Ahmedabad, awareness for blood donation is very appreciable. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Your input is much appreciated Dr. Atul Patel. Thank you very much

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  4. So true sir .... I think we all have gone thru such scenario once or twice in our residency and even after unconditionally helping the patient ... The doctors community is bad mouthed ... That makes one feel sad

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    1. Thanks Surabhi for your insightful comments. I am encouraged

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  5. This is a common situation we all face and we have to create awareness in the public strongly. Taking every such opportunity to educate might see some positive change in near future so that our junior doctors do their duties with more pride and dignity in saving a real emergency.

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    1. Your comments are very thoughtful Krishna. I agree.

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  6. Vikas Chauhan passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: It happens any time, when there is need of blood donation. Once i was doing emergency in surgery during internship. We have asked patient to bring some medicine from outside, as hospital was out of stock. Patient's relative was denying; as he has no money, so i went to surgical resident 2nd year. He told me that ask patient's relative to prepare donor for blood donation, as patient may require blood. and then see what happens. I did whatever has been told. On completion of my sentence, patient relative came out with Mast ten 100 Rs currency notes and told me and my friend, saheb kasi vyavastha karone. Then we told him, bring medicine with this money, as patient doesn't require blood. That was not fair, but it worked; and probably needed for patient

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  7. Pratosh Vashi passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: A touching story indeed Pankajbhai, n so apt too. Relatives mostly stand around n offer help. Most disappear when you actually need it. I vouch for friends any day!

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  8. Mahesh Desai passed this comment on this blog in Facebook: heart touching sir...keep writing such incident.

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  9. Kishore Rajurkar passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: This is a universal story in India particularly in less affluent society. Mr Amir khan are you listening. Well said sir

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  10. Girish Pandit passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: Blood relatives turning in to bloody relatives.

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  11. Asha Dixit passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: many a times operating doctor gives blood,in private practice, feeling proud after reading your article we ...doctors have so many blood relatives around

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  12. sir so many time your consultant operating in OT and we residence waiting in blood bank ....send 2 pcv...send FFP.....this blog revive slide show....in front of my eyes....great....!!

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    1. Thank you Vasant for your words of appreciation. I am touched

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  13. These articles should be published in national and regional dailies. Let people's realisation bone be tickled.Let them understand to what extent we can go to save a life!

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    1. Very good point Shakuntala. I will apply my mind on your suggestion. Thanks

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  14. Mridula Sharma commented this on the blog in Facebook: Very well described ..., common situation everywhere n each one of us has gone thru' this ... These kinds of facts should be taken out in news paper if possible for general public to read ... for medical fraternity

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  15. Suguna Veera passed this comment in Facebook on the blog: Same story everywhere sir. They are clever they know somehow the blood will be arranged in medical colleges by the students. It doesn't go into their head that the person who donates is the son/ daughter of somebody not related to them. When some complication arise all relative and non relatives will land up to create hungama. They also know that we will somehow save the patient. If the patient is a male member of the family the reaction will be different.

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  16. Vandana Seth passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: Feeling of being humane is a much stronger bond than inheriting the same DNA. No doubt about it that Doctors are the saviors of humanity with compassionate heart with skilled mind and hands .

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  17. Rimpi Chakrabarty passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: Reminds me of our residency days! Such a true depiction , sir!

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  18. Riddhi Desai passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: Amazing eye opener, shameful in time of need and bow to the Doctors for their generosity donating blood to the unknown which includes my dad who donated blood several times to his patients he was operating on.

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  19. Varsha Deshmukh passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: Great sir. I remember one of my residents donating blood fr a similar pt and rushing back to the OT fr assisting me. Small,simple and sincere measures to save life of helpless pt

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  20. Ankit Shah passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: Remember those days. Been there in shoes of junior doctors. A gift given to some one in help. I feel blessed that I could do something for someone. Though, I wish women in our country gets better treatment and respect. Needs grassroots level of education to girls and their relatives.

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  21. Chandrahas Trivedi passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: Excellent dear Pankajbhai.

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  22. Shilpen Gondalia passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: Sir,,,do we understand relations correctly? One should do enough good work,,,when in need,,,God will manage enough relatives.

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  23. Lalita Iyer Vaitheeswaran passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: just want to share this when we took my dad to madras medical mission hospital for a CABG we were asked to arrange for 9 pints of blood.my bro and I both were of the same group as dad but 2 pints wasn't enough.Madras (now Chennai) was an alien land...we didn't know anyone.the staff suggested advertising in newspapers and on TV. suddenly from nowhere my dad's cousin (with whom we hardly had any contacts)appeared with 7-8 of his colleagues from the bank.All of them donated blood for my dad. I wish to thank those good Samaritans today.

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  24. Sushie Singh passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: It is because of instances like this,,medical proffession still remains a" Noble Proffession"....the sacrifice and happiness in giving ..and saving a life.,very well written sir

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  25. Kawita Bapat passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: Nice picturization of events these people should be real recipients of all the awards

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  26. Swapnanjali Avhad passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: Such a pity..i can't figure out at times what keeps such a bunch of people bonded together in one house!! Going back into my internship days in pediatric dept,we had this seriously ill 4 month baby brought by her mother. She was told to buy an angio-catheter by my seniors.the lady went back to buy it but didn't turn up till i finished my duty.while my way back home,i saw her sitting with her baby on lap n crying..she didn't have enough money to buy the catheter.. I bought one myself but till we could do anything, baby was already stone cold..the father turned up hours later only with a hidden smile on his face..took few months myself to get over that incident..

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  27. Shivani Sachdev Gour passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: It is very sad and look at our politicians jet setting abroad for surgery ignoring the very people who put them in this powerful place

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  28. Vishnu Sheldekar passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: This is a very common feature and is discouraging but sometimes this fact can be counter used by us to drive away unnecessary crowd of relations disturbing us & the patient.

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  29. Neelam Mishra passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: So nicely narrated sir....all gynecology PGs must have faced this many a times..

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  30. Lalita Iyer Vaitheeswaran commented further on this blog in Facebook: just great as usual......The doctors are the mai-baap of the patient once she enters the hospital.....I don't know whether to feel proud about our brethren or to feel sad that how easily the buck is passed on to us!!!

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  31. Vijayalaksmi Pillai had this input in Facebook: Today I had a call from my long time classmate. She said that one of our classmate's daughter who had suffered a serious burn (almost one and half months now since the accident) was almost dying in the nearby tertiary hospital (supposedly a trust and "charity" hospital with worldwide connections). They are threatening to withdraw all her life support pending settlement of bills. It is to the tune of 15 lakhs in this hospital. She was a bright Medical student in a Tamil Nadu town Medical college. Had a fire accident while lighting the evening traditional lamp in her hostel. Her duppatta caught fire and then the rest. She first got admitted and treated in a big Private multi-specialty hospital of that town. The bill went up to 50 lakhs. Her father decided to shift her to home town hospital. She is very critical. Friends are messaging each other to raise funds. Her father is an ordinary Govt.medical College superintendent. To him 65 lakhs so far is a great money. I am appalled. Whereas we sympathize and sometimes go overboard to help people, like in Dr Pankaj D Desai's blog, even donate our own blood and then stand again to extend the support, what when such things happen to our bright children, who are at "another" doctor's mercy and even wrath? How do we have a just system? Medicine and treatment is not just for the rich, ordinary doctors and their family too need help.

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  32. Such ignorance about blood donation sadly belies the fact that we're living in the 21st century...personally feel all relationships have a self life...strange and sad but true...maybe we mortals in this regard cannot perceive our Creator's intriguing ways...neither can I...but come on guys we need to stand up for our fellow citizens in times of their need...feel like hanging one's head in shame reading this utter insensitive attitude as narrated...Hats off to the young docs and the undergraduate who stood up like 'Angels'...

    Great narration dear Pankaj...you have a fantastic pen...keep on at it...am sure all your peers and the youngsters in your profession will draw immense inspiration from this real life
    episode...thanks a lot for sharing...

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    1. Thanks Manobendra Dada for your great encouragement. It means tonnes to me.

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  33. Fantastic article! Took me back to my residency days when I had similar experiences. Did make us feel as though we were actually saving lives!

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  34. Thanks a ton Abha. I am greatly touched by your kind appreciation

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  35. Asma Rizwan ‏@asmariz tweeted this on the blog: liked it

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  36. Darjeeling Express ‏@AsmaKhanCooks tweeted this on the blog: It is shocking how so many people have such a negative attitude to donating blood-body replenish a bottle of blood in 2 hours I think. As someone who was regularly pushed forward in India when a relative needed blood this blog touched a chord.

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  37. wordsmith ‏@wordsmysword tweeted this on the blog: interesting read :)

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  38. •cutting• ‏@cutting_chai tweted this on the blog: Very nice read...will follow your blog:)

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  39. Nayana Parange commented this on the blog in Facebook: Yeah so frustrating that people don't come forward go donate blood even for their own relatives. And this is another reason I love working with young idealistic students who are out to save the world!

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  40. Himanshu Patel commented this on the blog in Facebook: Very true sir..

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  41. Sonal ‏@wittydoctor tweeted this on the blog: Very interesting point of view in the blog... I have seen this in my internship too

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  42. Silvio Aladjem M.D. ‏@dr_silvio tweeted this on the blog: More people should read this. Doctors, wherever they are, will always do things beyond their call of duty to benefit a patient.

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  43. Dr. G.S.Narang ‏@drgsnarang tweeted this on the blog: I feel very sad for the relatives :( it's very strange thing .

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  44. Dr.Damodhar.M.V ‏@DrDamodhar tweeted this on the blog: Sir your blogs though simple has a big impact on thinking. Can relate to these situations...

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  45. Dr.Tahir Zaidi ‏@DrTahirZaidi tweeted this on the blog: Well written doc and from personal experience can say that sadly this is invariably the case in all hospitals , and i think at least in elective surgeries we should make it imperative that no admissions would be done unless 2 units would b donated by relatives

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  46. DrMoumita DasGhosh passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: nice share...

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  47. Ingita Chadha passed this comment on the blog in Facebook: Women have many relatives when she is capable to serve, but unfortunately, very few to serve her.....

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  48. Rana Safvi رعنا राना ‏@iamrana tweeted this on the blog: Its very true very few people want to donate blood

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  49. Imp's Mom ‏@ImpsMom tweeted this on the blog: Who Indeed!! "Blood Relatives: Who?"

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  50. Shripa Ram commented this on the blog in Facebook: Thank you sir for mentioning my name here. It feels like a mini celebrity right now. I read all your blogs last night and forwarded a couple of them to my close people.. Sir your blog on "...…and I Cried, Yes I Cried!" touched my heart.. Am my daddy's girl. I wish i make him proud one day.. hmm...this is not my place to comment among all the renowned big doctors of INDIA..am a struggler..PG aspirant. Your current post on " Blood Relatives…WHO?" has ignited hopes and enthusiasm to start reading all over again for AIPGMEE.. And lastly I will be in heaven if someday i can get to live your story of "A Child’s “Thank You”. Hoping to get many more inspiring posts from your end... Thank you so much Sir.

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  51. Poonam Loomba commented this on the blog in Facebook: I remember twice me and my husband donated blood in emergency to my patients since there was no other option .this happened when there was no consumer forum..earnest goodwill for our patients and spirit to save their lives was the prime thought

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  52. gaonwali ‏@gaonwali01 tweted this on the blog: Beautifully expressed and as always sensitive!

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  53. so true sir .. i remember we used to have a list of MBBS students and residents with their blood groups n phone no to be able to arrange blood in residency .. n so often we faced the situation where all the relatives- near n far, who would come shouting n banging in the labour room with the patient , would disappear in fraction of seconds just to avoid donating blood. Sad face of Indian society ..

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    1. Thank you so much Priyanka for very thoughtful comments.

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  54. jumana engineer ‏@jumana_engineer tweeted this on the blog: Thanks for sharing. Indeed a good read. Sad to see such a state where life is not valued. God bless the doctors who donated blood.

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  55. Meena N Swamy ‏@menkris tweeted this on the blog: Thank you for sharing this with me. Frustrating run-in with uninformed inhumanity

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  56. Ali Mirza ‏@mirzhaywire tweeted this on the blog: A stark reminder of life in general..

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  57. निखिल निकुंज ‏@NikhilNikunj tweeted this on the blog: well written

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  58. Subhashini ‏@NeelaVanam tweeted this on the blog: A very touching story indeed.

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  59. Pratosh Vashi left this comment on the blog in Facebook: Just loved it.

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  60. Nidhi Sharma left this comment on the blog in Facebook: Its really very touchy. Sir, your narratives are always amazing and mind blowing.

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  61. Niraj Chawda commented this on the blog in Facebook: Blood relatives v/s Bloody relatives

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  62. rashmibansal ‏@rashmibansal tweeted this on the blog: Beautifully conveyed

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  63. K ‏@reddy_kavi tweeted this on the blog: Touching and sensitive as always.

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  64. Ranjona Banerji ‏@ranjona tweeted this on the blog: Sad but true...

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  65. Monikesh Patel ‏@monikeshP tweeted this on the blog: You've done a good job! It was worth reading it.. :-)

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  66. Sair Mir ‏@sairmir tweeted this on the blog: Very well written sir. I've seen a lot of this in practice. Happens so often.

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  67. Pri ‏@SatanKiNani tweeted this on the blog: Very frequently faced situation sir! Very well written

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  68. Sharmila Mahurkar ‏@sharmileee tweeted this on the blog: Very touching blog... No words to express how I felt after reading .........

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  69. Suma Deshpande passed this comment on te blog in Facebook: Nice one sir

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  70. Sanjukta Sarkar sent this email on the blog: Just an indication of what biological relationships are in reality....

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  71. Zil Shah ‏@ShahZil_ tweeted this on the blog: Thanks for sharing this.... really liked this post.

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  72. Sweety ‏@thodi_si_pagal tweeted this on the blog: Really nice, really could not understand what stopped the neighbors from giving blood!

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  73. Shruti Mehendale ‏@smsshruti tweeted this on the blog: Lovely post ... so true the question ..

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  74. Sameer Dikshit ‏@drsameerd tweeted this on the blog: Superb Sir

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    1. Sir,
      I was exactly in the same situation last week a case with PPH could not be controlled with Medical management ,condom tamponade didnt help myself and my most trusted student and my adopted daughter Dr N.Shailaja went ahead with Internal Iliac Ligation and B.Lynch suture she had lost lot of blood and required packed cells ,FFP , Platelets 5 of my undergraduate students rushed to the blood bank and donated blood ,today that patient walked out of the hospital with a broad smile carrying her baby which was following 3 pregnancy losses. It was so gratifying Sir, I called all the 5 students and complimented them.
      Dr.L.Krishna

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    2. Wonderful Dr. Krishna. You are a monk-teacher-doctor all in one.

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  75. Sir,
    Very much true sir, this is the routine scenario...my beloved teacher Dr L Krishna is just not my teacher, he is my father...blood relation is just not sharing the blood or genes it is sharing genuine feelings...it is feeling of oneness...Dr L Krishna is so much dedicated and committed doctor and teacher that hospital is his home...patients and students are his life...blood relatives....thank you for sharing your great experience and feeling sir...
    Dr N Shailaja, PESIMSR, Kuppam

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    1. Proud of doctor-teachers like you and Dr. Krishna. These are the silent people who create miracles without yearning for any name or fame. God Bless You

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  76. Nice article. However, I think the malaise lies elsewhere. The need is to increase the voluntary donations so that such situations when the relatives have to almost compulsorily donate does not arise. The so called "educated" society needs to be woken up to the responsibility of giving something which is going to come back to him within a few hours. His contribution is only a small prick and 20 minutes of his time. But for the patient it is life!! And after all we are all related to each other by the common bond of humanity

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    1. Thanks Milind for your kind and very insightful inputs. Much appreciated.

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  77. Its a routine thing v faced during my p.g. u saved her but i lost one patient, she was very devoted lady toher in-laws but......😑

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    1. Bharti ma'am thank you very much for your very correct input. Thank you

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  78. Replies
    1. Thank you very much.That was very encouraging

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  79. Rashmi Sharma passed these comments on Facebook while tagging this blog: These are the stories very common in medical colleges ,wherein the relatives disappear when asked to donate blood . I remember donating blood to one of the patient almost dying on operating table due to lack of blood ( a case of placenta accreta ) during my second year in MD . Along with me my junior first year resident from Mauritius also donated blood as there were no relatives available .Finally that lady was saved . Thank You Dr Pankaj D Desai for writing a blog on this pretty common situation in our hospitals . Sadly media never highlights the good Samaritan works of doctors (done almost everyday ) and is hell bent on projecting them as villains .

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  80. Hasija Indira passed these comments on the blog for the world to read:
    Very true. Most of the time all the relatives disappear when asked for replacement. Very sad situation for all of us.

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  81. Priyanka Balhara passed these comments in Facebook on this blog:
    Very true situation in medical college. I feel it's due to ignorance amongst relatives. Here in Delhi it's not mandatory to replace blood yet I find that people are more willing to volunteer as donors.

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  82. Heena Garg Sindhwad passed these comments in Facebook on this blog:
    How true. I remember running to the medical library to find volunteers at any hour for blood. Phew it was a sheer challenge

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  83. Did not find an appropriate place to connect...do commenting here. I'm impressed with your story. If you got time, can u visit www.stoho.in - this is a platform for storytellers which I've launched couple of weeks back. You can write to me at saptadeepbasu@gmail.com, & I can explain to you what I'm creating here. Good luck & looking forward to hear from you

    ReplyDelete

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