Mumbai News

It’s service that runs through their veins: Rare ‘Bombay Blood’ donor shares donation stories – The New Indian Express

Express News Service

MADURAI: They come under the category ‘rare’, and they consider the ‘Bombay blood’ that runs through their veins as a gift, for they could help save many a life.    

Discovered in 1952, the rare blood type HH blood type is commonly known as ‘Bombay blood group’ as it was first found in the people of Mumbai (previously Bombay). According to experts, one in four million across the world and one in 10,000 in India are born with the blood type.  

An individual belonging to Bombay blood group could donate blood to a person with ABO blood type but can receive blood only from a donor belonging to Bombay blood group.

On the sidelines of World Blood Donors Day that falls on June 14, T Prakash (37), a resident of Melur and a teacher in a private school, said that he until six years ago, he thought that his blood group was O positive.

“But in 2014, when I volunteered to donate blood to my friend’s father-in-law who had to undergo bypass heart surgery in a private hospital, the hospital staff told me that my blood group was in fact the Bombay blood group,” he said.

Since then, he has donated blood six times at Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH). He said that as the blood of a Bombay blood group donor could be stored only for 45 days, requests for donation are made only during critical times, for immediate use.

He added that unlike other donors who are encouraged to donate once in three months, Bombay blood group donors are usually encouraged to donate blood once in five months.

Recalling his first blood donation experience, Prakash said, “I got a call from GRH seeking blood for a pregnant woman. When I was told the next day the woman and her child were in good heath, I felt elated since I got a ‘rare’ chance to save not just one but two lives.”

R Muthukumar (42), a sales executive, residing in Vadipatti said that he found out the rarity of his blood group accidentally, when he was 19 years.

Speaking to TNIE, Prakash said that he has donated blood 12 times so far, of which, 7 or 8 times was at GRH itself. “Whenever a patient requires blood, I take leave from office and travel to Madurai city,” he said.

He said that the fear of blood loss did struck him once, but he claimed, he came out of it quickly. “Maybe it is this fear that stops a few others who belong to  to the rare blood group from donating blood.”

Sources said that four persons, admitted to GRH in 2019, were having Bombay blood group type. “Three of them required blood transfusion,” they added.