As Covid-19 pandemic severely constricts blood supply, city heroes make difference between life & death for many in Bhopal

Bhopal : The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic had severely constricted the supply of blood. There were restrictions on movement due to the lockdown. Even regular donors were wary of visiting hospitals and blood banks for fear of catching infection. Also, the government had issued guidelines saying that those who had got themselves vaccinated against Covid-19 should not donate blood for 28 days after each dose. All the three factors combined to create a severe shortage of blood.

However, there were Good Samaritans in the city who refused to allow the problems and the risks to come in the way of their commitment to helping patients who needed blood. They made the difference between life and death for many. Free Press spoke to some of them. Excerpts:

‘Money can’t buy me blood’

‘I was at my village in Raisen district when, around 9 am, I read a WhatsApp group message saying that a 17-year-old blood cancer patient was in need of blood. I immediately started out for Bhopal. Due to some confusion, I first reached BMHRC, only to be informed that the patient, Dharmendra Yadav, was at Jawaharlal Nehru Cancer Hospital. I reached there around 2 pm and donated blood for him. I knew very well that a hospital was the last place one should visit when an epidemic is raging. But I was confident that, since I was out to save the life of a person, The Almighty wouldn’t allow harm to come my way. That was my 26th blood donation. I’ve been donating blood every three months for many years now. Whenever I donate blood, I feel as if I’ve achieved something in life. I always share the information on my Facebook wall to inspire others to donate blood. And I’m happy that my niece, 18, has started donating blood. Blood is among the few things that money can’t buy’

— Vipnish Thakur, 42, farmer

‘Someone must come forward’

‘In April, I heard that a woman admitted to Hamidia Hospital with some gynaecological problems needed blood urgently. The time was around 8.30 pm. I started out for the hospital, but the journey, which would normally have taken 15-20 minutes, took about one hour due to barricading of roads. I donated blood and I’m happy that she’s recovered. Of course, my family members asked me not to take the risk. But then, someone has to come forward. If one is committed, no problem can deter one’

— Yogesh Nema, 38, businessman

‘Donated blood four times’

‘Since the last lockdown, I’ve donated blood four times. On May 28 this year, I got to know that a thalassemia patient from a village in Vidisha district needed blood. At that time, I was having lunch at my office in Arera Hills. I left for the blood bank, about 12 km away, and reached there within an hour. I was stopped at many police barricades, but, when I explained to the cops where and why I was going, they allowed me to go. Such problems seem small when you know you are going to save someone’s life’

— Lucky Negi, 25, computer operator

‘Gives me great satisfaction’

‘This year, I first donated my blood in February. It was for a man who was bleeding through his nose due to some disorder. Next, I travelled to the blood bank at Hamidia Hospital on May 16 to donate blood for a woman admitted there. She needed blood twice every month. I reached the place around 6 pm. The cops did stop me on the way, but created no problems when I showed them the WhatsApp chats about the need for blood. My parents didn’t want me to go, but I persuaded them to allow me to. Donating blood gives me a satisfaction which I can’t explain in words’

— Kush Dubey, 26, student

‘Someone must take the risk’

‘I’ve been donating blood since I was 18. During the recent lockdown, I donated blood for a cancer patient on May 11. I came to know about his need through a WhatsApp group. I live at Shubhash Nagar. The roads were heavily barricaded, but, being a local, I managed to reach the Cancer Hospital on Idgah Hills by driving through narrow lanes. Someone has to take the risk. I feel happy deep inside when I donate blood. Let alone weak, I feel stronger physically after donating blood’

— Vinu D’Souza, 40, sport teacher