On a busy day in a blood donation drive I was taking care of the pre-donation area. The room available for the camp was not very large so the registration and waiting area were organised in the corridor outside. A few donors patiently waited for their turn to donate while curious people walking across looked around.
It was here that a young man came and sat next to a donor who was waiting for his turn and started chatting. Firstly he told the waiting donor that it was good to donate blood. Then without a pause he continued to share how he was a very regular donor with a particular blood bank and how he had donated blood many times. The waiting donor was nodding his head. The man continued saying that he likes to donate for that blood bank alone because he gets special credits. He spoke how he accumulated credits by donating and used them to help needy people. "You just have to give the credit , copy of your photo identity card and a letter addressed to the blood bank and they can get blood". With a little tone of contempt for the current camp and with immense sense of pride in the credit system which he was glued to, he waited to see the change in expression on the face of the donor who was waiting. All he got was polite nods. I could not help but notice that he spoke louder than it was required to communicate to the one person he spoke to - perhaps because he thought it might be good to let the other people know as well. As soon as he left, the donor who was waiting seemed to get back to the brochure he was reading.
I was happy that in-spite of the provocation offered, none of the donors seem to be affected. No one asked about the credit system. No one asked if their letter will enable people to get blood. I was glad to note that most donors do not see blood donation as some kind of insurance or business. They expect the blood banks to do just what they promise - help the needy with the blood units they donate. They do not feel the need to seek personal gratification. It's an act of pure donation which they come forward to.
As for those who have faith in the credit system I could not help but wonder what do they expect the blood bank to do? do they actually want the blood bank to hold back units from the needy patients until and unless the letter from such and such donor is produced? Should the blood bank not issue blood to who-so-ever comes at their gate looking for blood? Seeking and giving such undue benefits speaks poorly of the voluntary blood donation scenario. Voluntarily donated blood is a gift a donor gives to the unknown patient and saving the family the misery of having to struggle to find donors. It is the purest form of donation. It's not a business. It's not an insurance.
We take this opportunity to SALUTE the committed voluntary blood donors who act selflessly and enable saving the lives of the numerous faceless patients.