Blood and platelet donation saves thousands of patients each year

November 18, 2022 - 09:28
All of her family members registered for blood donation but that was not enough for the little girl. Many other people, both Dũng’s acquaintances and strangers, also donated blood.
Nguyễn Đức Lâm, 27, travels from his hometown in Nam Định Province to Hà Nội to donate platelets. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Đỗ Xuân Dũng, 45, from Hoàng Mai District in Hà Nội, donates his platelets once every 25 days to keep a promise he made with his daughter.

Some years ago when his daughter was diagnosed with cancer, she suffered internal bleeding and needed a blood transfusion.

All of her family members registered for blood donation but that was not enough for the little girl. Many other people, both Dũng’s acquaintances and strangers, also donated blood.

Then he wondered why strangers were ready to donate precious blood to his daughter.

He realised the importance of blood and voluntarily donates regularly.

“My daughter did not make it, but the promise of ‘continuing to donate blood when I am still alive’ is being realised,” he told Nhân Dân (People) newspaper.

From a voluntary group B blood donor, he was advised by doctors to donate platelets.

Dũng added: “I have donated platelets for 12 times and will do again twice more."

He comes to the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT) every month to donate platelets. He also refuses to drink alcohol for three days prior to his donation to ensure the quality of platelets.

Dũng and his neighbours established a blood donation group of Linh Đàm Residential Building. They not only set an example of donating blood but also organise campaigns with NIHBT twice a year and encourage residents to donate.

More than 200 units of blood have been collected each year thanks to this activity.

Precious source of blood

Nguyễn Đức Lâm, 27, was diagnosed with a rare brain disease that doctors have not been able to treat. Only one in millions of people is found to be infected with this disease.

But it does not prevent the young man to make platelet donations.

The rare disease saw him drop more than 15kg in one-month of treatment. Due to the illness, he also had his labour contract in Japan ended. His communication has slowed down and he is not as as active as before. His hands shake when he tries to focus on detailed work.

“Life is short. As long as we live a meaningful life, we feel happy about what we have done," he said.

“I made donation for only a few times, not many, but I feel happy every time I do it. I only think as long as I am healthy and can help someone, I should do something.”

At NIHBT, thousands of patients have been saved thanks to donated blood.

Eight-year-old Lê Đình Khang is being treated for adipose bone marrow failure, and often has gum and under-the-skin bleeding.

His mother said for many times he was hospitalised at midnight due to platelet level declining to almost zero.

“The biggest happiness is to have enough blood and platelet for a transmission whenever he needs one and see his health improve day by day,” she said.

Lê Thị Tuyền, 30, from Quảng Ninh Province, is another patient saved thanks to donated blood and platelets.

Infected with blood cancer, she needs two to three units each day. She knows if the platelet level declines sharply and there is not enough platelet available for transmission, the consequences are unpredictable.

Dr Trần Ngọc Quế, director of NIHBT’s National Blood Centre, said although platelet donation criteria are strict and the donation time is longer than blood donation (45-120 minutes for platelets and five minutes for blood), many people are ready to make donations.

“The most appreciated thing is in 12 months of the year, some people make donation for 13-14 times and do not need any reminders,” he said.

According to NIHBT, the platelets from donors meet emergency and treatment demands of nearly 180 hospitals in 26 northern provinces and cities.

In 2021, the NIHBT received 33,314 units of platelets.

As of October 28, 2022, nearly 25,000 platelet units have been collected from 8,198 donors. Each person makes donation for three times on average. — VNS