S Sookram of Fyzabad approached Newsday to highlight her appeal for blood because she is scheduled to have her gall bladder removed at the San Fernando General Hospital next month.
The 47-year-old said relatives have been eliminated as donors because they have a range of chronic ailments — diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Attempts to get other donors have been unsuccessful and Sookram said she is unable to pay what strangers are charging for their blood. Sookran said at the SFGH someone said “they will donate blood if I paid $500 and they will give me the paper showing they donated. The $500 is too steep for me.” Sookram got a telephone number for another donor but when she contacted the woman she was asked to pay $700.
“I am a single parent living with my parents and I cannot afford this with my salary.
Duane Gonzalez, Donor Research Officer with the Friends of the Blood Bank Association, said “A small percentage of people offer to go and donate blood if you give them money.”
It could be waste of money. “People who are paid for blood generally have the highest incidence of transfusion transmittable infections (TTI),” Gonzalez said. TTIs include HIV and Hepatitis. .
The shortage of voluntary donors and the sale of blood were among the findings of the Commission of Enquiry into the Operations and Delivery of Public Health Care Services. In its report which was laid in Parliament in June stated that people were selling blood for as much as $1,500.