Dengue surge: Dearth of kits; private hospitals make a killing in Jalandhar

Both platelet machines at Jalandhar Civil Hospital non-functional

Dengue surge: Dearth of kits; private hospitals make a killing in Jalandhar

As government healthcare services are unable to provide succour to them, “black marketing” of the SDPs has become rampant. Photo for representation only.

Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 29

Amid a dengue outbreak, a severe dearth of blood units with SDPs (Single Donor Platelets) and the non-availability of SDP kits is hitting the common man. Both apheresis machines at the Civil Hospital in Jalandhar are non-functional. The hospital is flooded with patients having low platelets who have been scurrying from hospital to hospital only to be sent back.

As government healthcare services are unable to provide succour to them, “black marketing” of the SDPs has become rampant. Some private hospitals are charging exhorbitant rates (above the capped price) for a unit of the SDP. At some hospitals, doctors are asking for two or three units of SDPs which are costing Rs 22,000 to Rs 33,000, for a single patient. The Tribune has copies of bills of Rs 12,000 for a unit of SDP or those seeking two to three units of blood for a single patient.

Collapse of govt healthcare

Shortage of SDP kits is hitting the common man. Some hospitals are demanding 2-3 SDP units for a patient, costing Rs22,000-33,000. With collapse of healthcare, private hospitals are having a free run. — Vinit Puri, gen secy, Hindustan welfare blood donors club

While a single unit of the SDP (platelets extracted from blood through an apheresis machine) costs Rs 6,720 at the Civil Hospital, at private hospitals, they are available for around Rs 11,000 (many hospitals are even charging more). The apheresis machine at the Civil Hospital in Jalandhar has been out of kits for the past 20-25 days.

Amandeep, could not arrange platelets from six private hospitals that he visited yesterday to save the life of his brother Gurjit Singh (26). Gurpreet Kaur (20) waited for over an hour at the Civil Hospital blood bank to arrange platelets for her father whose platelet count was down to 30,000. Murlidhar, whose son Kaushal Kishore’s platelet count was down to 12,000, and Prithvipal Singh, whose son Harpreet’s platelets were down to 85,000, also expressed helplessness in arranging the SDPs.

Amandeep Singh said, “I visited six hospitals yesterday, and finally found SDPs at PIMS for Rs 11,000. Till then, my brother’s platelet count had got better. This morning, it dipped again. There are no SDP kits at the Civil Hospital. I met a man with his 1.5-year-old daughter from Nawanshahr who came for the SDPs at the Civil Hospital today. So many helpless poor patients are being charged Rs 11,000 or more by private hospitals.”

Gurjit was administered PRPs (Platelet Rich Plasma) in an emergency this morning. PRPs add only 7,000 to 15,000 platelets in the blood of a patient.

Dr Navneet Kaur, BTO, Blood Bank, Jalandhar, said, “The apheresis machine has been out of order for over two weeks. Until we get the supply of kits from the company, we can’t provide the SDPs.”  

Tribune Shorts


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