Follow-up on adverse events for donors

The care giving to donors does not end with the donation process. Since 2009 volunteers of Sankalp record details of adverse events in blood donation drives. A standard form which records donor contact details, complication details is filled and maintained digitally. The intention has always been to understand the reasons for such events and work on the gaps in delivering a safer blood donation drive. As a symbol of our concern, we follow up the very next day with such donors to understand if they are indeed in good health. Should they indicate otherwise care is taken to give advice, medical attention as is necessary. We also give our helpline numbers and request a callback should there be a reason to believe that the blood donation has caused discomfort. In a recent conversation with a reputed blood bank with whom a pattern of arm related or hematoma events had developed, the topic of follow up with donors (either done directly by Sankalp or initiated by the donor because we asked for callback) took centre stage. A good percentage of the events reported 2-3 days after the drive where donors wrote back / called explaining the discomfort they are facing. The blood banker was of the opinion that donors must not be encouarged to report any complications as it instills a sense of fear in such donors if something is really wrong with them and they tend to put out things which otherwise need not deserve attention. Of-course we disagree. Is this the way we think of treat a person who came with his/her own will without expectation of any remuneration to perform an act of goodwill? Let’s put protocol aside for a moment, does this not become our moral responsibility to care for such donors who faced a discomfort? Does care end with the donor walking out of the donation hall? Where further medical attention is required, it must be given. We cannot escape from this responsibility. If it is not the blood bank that takes ownership, it will be the team at Sankalp who will take care of that donor. Giving donors a clear mechanism to share their problems is essential to the donor's safety and well being. Contrary to the argument, we have experienced that a majority of such donors expect satisfaction and happiness on having being called. They feel cared about and reassured that everything is fine. Many donors open up on reasons that may have caused the adverse event during the donation and promise to take care of it in subsequent donations. Is this in itself not a victory? The donor instead of backing off from blood donation makes a commitment to come better prepared the next time. Donor side hemovigilance - especially for the delayed complications has been a massive challenge - worldwide. What we are doing is in-fact solving this herculean problem. Unfortunately the debate at that blood bank was inconclusive and there was an agreement to continue to disagree on this topic. However Sankalp shall continue to identify, document and follow up on adverse events and the blood bank has agreed do a self-assessment to get to the root of the problem that had caused a surge in hematoma incidents.
Patrika Section