Dubai: Hundreds of plasma donors turn up to give new lease of life to Indian expat

Sreevas suffered from critical condition pancytopenia with rare blood type

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Residents donating blood. Photo: Supplied
Residents donating blood. Photo: Supplied

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Tue 14 Jun 2022, 4:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 14 Jun 2022, 10:50 PM

The overwhelming response from donors and timely plasma donations have helped give a new lease of life to a Dubai-based India expat.

Sreevas Sreedhar was diagnosed with pancytopenia – a critical condition where blood and platelet count in the body drop drastically. Plasmapheresis, a critical intervention, was immediately needed to remove and replace plasma in his blood. Luckily eight matching donors were found for Sreevas, who has AB+ blood group – one of the rarest types. And today, marking World Blood Donor Day, the family can’t stop thanking the generous donors.

Aster Hospital staff takes part in the blood donation campaign. Photo: Supplied
Aster Hospital staff takes part in the blood donation campaign. Photo: Supplied

A resident in the UAE for 23 years, Sreedhar recalls the dramatic turn of events. What started as a normal fever, aggravated in a few days to the extent that he was in the intensive care unit of Aster Hospital, Qusais.

“On May 9, 2022, I felt a bit feverish with body ache, and experienced joint pain. I took some medicine and decided to rest. The next day, the fever shot up, and fatigue hit me. My eyes had turned yellowish, like in the case of jaundice. We went to Aster Hospital, and consulted at the emergency department,” the 47-year-old said.

The doctor ran a few tests and found his haemoglobin and platelet levels to be drastically low. As his health condition worsened, he was moved to the ICU.

Dr Abdel Rahman Labban, specialist in haematology and medical oncology, said a series of tests were run to diagnose the real cause.

“The drop in haemoglobin and platelet levels can be attributed to several conditions. We had to check for each before we finally diagnosed the cause. Our investigations found the cause to be pancytopenia,” said Dr Labban.

Sreevas’ platelet counts were substantially low and plasmapheresis procedure was required, which is the removal, and return or exchange of blood plasma or components.

Aster Hospital staff. Photo: Supplied
Aster Hospital staff. Photo: Supplied

Donors turn up in hundreds

Rashmi, his wife, recollected that it was a challenging situation as Sreevas required plasma from donors that matched his blood type of AB+.

“We contacted our family and friends, and the message was circulated across the contact list. The response was overwhelming; more than 150 people turned up at the DHA centre as donors. About eight of them donated their plasma as well.”

Sreevas had to undergo plasmapheresis procedures for 14 times before his platelet count was stabilised.

“We thank each donor who turned up voluntarily and for all the people who personally contacted us and offered help. It was an overwhelming and emotional moment. Without their support, it would have been difficult for us to source plasma for Sreevas,” Rashmi added.

Aster Hospital staff. Photo: Supplied
Aster Hospital staff. Photo: Supplied

Rashmi urged eligible community members to donate blood and save lives.

“From our experience, we would like to say that when you get a request for blood donation, do not turn it down. Sometimes, you could be one of the few matches for that person,” Rashmi added.

Sreevas was admitted to Aster Hospital on May 11 and got discharged after a month on Tuesday, June 14.


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