Tuesday, January 10, 2023.
Blood Bank mafia
Recovery Ward, Main Theatre, Nkitinkiti Government Hospital.
Kwaku Nkrabea: It was a difficult surgery. The patient is pale. She needs blood transfusion.
Matron Lorlor: Dr. Ahuofe went to the Blood Bank. He was told that the patient didn’t donate blood. She has no blood at the Blood Bank.
Kwaku Nkrabea: Impossible. This was an elective surgery. I admitted the patient myself. She had donated two units of blood. I saw the chits myself.
Dr. Ahuofe: It seems the chits were forged.
Kwaku Nkrabea: Again? I thought this was resolved 3 months ago.
Dr. Ahuofe: I had not come to the hospital then. What happened?
Kwaku Nkrabea: There were syndicates at the Blood Bank. One syndicate was led by the Security man, Mr. Alakpator and the guy in the Blood Bank, Mr. Fiafitor. Mr. Alakpator would look for the patients coming for surgery who had been asked to get blood donated for them. He would tell them they didn’t need to bring anybody to come to donate blood if they paid an amount to him. Once they paid the amount, he would tell Mr. Fiafitor who would forge the chits.
Dr. Ahuofe: What!
Kwaku Nkrabea: Hmmm. The Head of the Blood Bank was surprised. The Blood Bank always had fewer units of Blood than he projected. He started his investigations and caught Mr. Fiafitor forging chits. Later, he realised over 50 chits had been forged. When he reported, nothing was done to them. They are relatives of big people in the hospital. Now they have started again.
Dr. Ahuofe: This is serious!
Dr. R: I am listening to your conversation. Kwaku Nkrabea is so naive. He thinks he is a saint. And you, Dr. Ahuofe, he is mentoring you be be like him. Don’t follow him. You will die a pauper.
Dr. Ahuofe: Don’t say that, Dr. R.
Dr. R: Listen, and listen well. For every patient that we doctors operate on in this hospital, people are making money for themselves that we are not aware of. There is another group that takes money from patients who need blood donated for them before surgery. They genuinely get commercial blood donors from the town to donate blood for them. They pay these commercial blood donors but they make profit.
Dr. Ahuofe: But blood is not for sale?
Dr. R: Be as naive as your mentor Nkrabea. Many patients won’t have relatives or friends to donate blood for them. Even if they did, paying money is more convenient for them. Remember tests done before the blood is stored for transfusion are not free. HIV, Hepatitis B,C etc. So blood can never be free.
Dr. Ahuofe: How do we minimise these irregularities?
Dr. R: You are young. You will grow to understand these things. When the government is paying salaries that cannot sustain people, they will find ways to make extra money to survive.
The situation is even more complex when after the surgery, the blood is not used. Then some patients want their money back.
Kwaku Nkrabea: Or want free blood anytime they come to the hospital, even after two years. You explain to them that blood can be stored for just about a month. They still don’t understand. That it is the same blood that will be used for them if they or their relatives come in an emergency, like after a road traffic accident. They don’t understand.
One patient actually took his blood from the Blood Bank and threw it away at the Lorry station before he travelled back home after surgery.
Dr. R: Why shouldn’t he? When he is not convinced that the society as a whole will benefit. They did not give him back even part of his money after the processing fee for HIV, Hepatitis B, C etc and the cost of the blood bags, cannulae etc that they tried to explain to him. He believed a few people were going to sell the blood donated for him to others and pocket the money. It was better for him to get the blood and throw it away.
Dr. Ahuofe: Amazing things happen in this hospital!
Dr. R: This is just the tip of the iceberg. Some nurses on the wards beg patients for their chits when they are being discharged and were not transfused. Then they sell the chits to the mafia or to new patients coming for surgery.
Kwaku Nkrabea: Dr. Ahuofe, don’t learn bad tricks.
Let’s go to the Blood Bank to arrange for blood for the patient and try to get her relatives to donate blood to replace what we take for her.
What is her blood group.
Dr. Ahuofe: O Rhesus Positive.
Kwaku Nkrabea: It shouldn’t be too difficult to get blood for her.
To be continued.
The characters in this piece are fictitious; any resemblance to real people or facts within your Corporate Institution is pure coincidence only.