Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Should circulate

That is the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH), across the road from the Chennai Central station. It has been providing medical care from this space since the late eighteenth century, when John Sullivan, a writer at Fort St George, won the tender for constructing a hospital capable of receiving and accommodating "500 men and 30 officers". 

One of the facilities we take for granted in hospitals now is a blood bank. But that part of the medical profession is very recent. It was only in 1937 that Bernard Fantus of the Cook County Hospital in Chicago began refrigerating donors' blood, naming it a 'Blood Bank'. Following upon the work of Dr. Charles Drew, who oversaw the large-scale shipment of blood plasma to UK in the 1940s, the nature of blood banking changed. 

Today, large blood banks are commonplace in many hospitals. The RGGGH in Chennai has the largest one in the state. It is one of the nearly 3,000 blood banks across the country, most (~75%) of which are public / not-for-profit operations. Despite their best efforts, they are not able to meet the demand for blood. Projected at 14.6 million blood units for this year, demand outstrips supply by over 1 million units. On this day - the World Blood Donor day - go over to register as a donor here and make sure you do your bit to reduce that shortage!

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