Verify viral messages, avoid rumours

National 2 minutes, 5 seconds


MEMBERS of the public need to verify viral messages on shortages of blood supply at the Blood Donation Centre as such rumours are not true, said Scientific Officer at the Blood Donation Centre Ken Teo.

Teo said, “The most important thing is that they should find out from us (the blood bank) to verify whether these messages are true or not, and get the whole story from us.”

Some of the messages that went viral are also outdated, he said.

“We have enough blood supplies. We want to give the patient the blood, but we can’t because the units of blood that we have are not compatible with the patient,” he said.

Donated blood will be tested for the presence or absence of antigens (blood typing) as well as compatibility testing. Compatibility testing is performed to determine whether a particular unit of blood can be transfused safely into a patient. Compatibility testing also screens for antibodies.

“We may have 30 to 40 units of blood available, but finding a blood unit that is compatible with the patient may be difficult if he or she develop multiple antibodies. We do not want to comprise (the health of) the patient, we can give same grouping blood but if it is not compatible, it can cause minor reactions,” he said.

“The blood must be compatible. Because often transfusion dependent patients develop multiple antibodies, once this happen, it is hard to get compatible blood,” he said.

The centre depends on voluntary non-remunerated blood donations. The donated blood would be used in blood transfusions such as for accident victims, Thalassemia patients and premature infants.

“Premature infants require fresh blood (less than one week) for transfusion, while thalassemia patients can receive blood that is one to two weeks old,” he said.

He added that in an event when they do experience shortage, which do not happen frequently, the centre will contact their donors via messages and phone calls.

“Usually in December, we have low blood supply but this year our blood supply is satisfactory,” he said. The Blood Donation Centre also have a registry for donors with Rhesus negative blood types (A-,B-, AB- and O-).

Rhesus Negative (Rh-) blood is very rare among Asians, he said.

For Rhesus Negative blood donors, the centre will only call them in when there is a patient admitted and in need of blood. Donated blood can be kept for 42 days; however donors are only allowed to donate once in every two months.

The Brunei Times