Donating blood saves lives. This is the simple mantra repeated by people across the Kingdom who have experienced first-hand the vital role blood transfusions play in medical treatment.
Chan Sambath, 59, from Takeo province’s Angkor Borei district said it is crucial that the people understand the issue and, if possible, donate blood to save lives and help put a stop to illegal blood trafficking.
Sambath took her 65-year-old husband to Preah Kossamak Hospital in Phnom Penh late last month.
“Generous people who donated blood free of charge saved my husband’s life. He suffered from inflammation of the lung for one week and was operated on."
“Without the blood donation, my husband would have died like one of my daughters five years ago,” she said.
Sambath’s 22-year-old daughter had leukaemia and required a bag (350ml) of blood every three days. For two weeks, her relatives and neighbours came to give blood but after that could not donate anymore.
“The doctor told me there was none of her blood type, B+, left in the hospital,” she said.
‘He demanded $80’
Sambath said a doctor whispered to her to ask a man who was standing in the corner to donate some blood. She asked the man to help her daughter but said he demanded $80.
“Some people think money is more important than good deeds. He refused to lower the price. Two days later my daughter died as there was no blood available.”
That was five years ago. Thankfully, today such cases are rare despite the demand for blood transfusions increasing 15-20 per cent every year.
National Blood Transfusion Centre director Sok Po told The Post on Wednesday that the centre has 800 blood bags in stock that can be distributed to hospitals nationwide.
He said that last year the centre supplied more than 85,000 bags of blood, of which 60,000 were used in Phnom Penh.
Not enough donors
In 2017, he said, it provided only 76,000 bags, while this year he estimates 100,000 bags will be required.
He said young people are increasingly aware of the importance of donating blood and some give blood at the centre twice a year.
But Po said there are still not enough donors because some people, including relatives of the sick, hesitate to give blood.
Some people, he said, believed rumours that after giving blood they would catch diseases due to a loss of antibodies. That is absolutely not the case, Po said.
“Donating blood not only saves other people’s lives but helps keep one’s blood vessels healthy,” he said.
Sao Yan, also 65, from Batheay commune’s Sras Pring village in Kampong Cham province’s Batheay district told The Post on Wednesday that he, his son, daughter and two or three grandchildren stayed at Calmette Hospital late last month to accompany his 60-year-old wife, Sri Sau, who was suffering acute inflammation of the colon.
“My wife’s stomach became so painful that she fell unconscious. Before he could operate, the doctor explained the need for blood. Six of my grandchildren volunteered immediately."
“Now her condition has improved and the doctor said she can go home in two or three days,” Yan said.