By Jel Santos
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Monday blasted some hospitals that require patients to replace blood units they get, saying implementing “blood replacement policy” is against the law.
PRC Chairman Sen. Richard Gordon said hospitals practicing such are violating the “National Blood Services Act of 1994,” which promotes ensuring safe, quality, and adequate blood supply through voluntary blood donation.
He said the “replacement policy” adds to the burden of patients’ families.
“When blood is replaced, it becomes transactional. Safe blood supply is compromised from replacement donations which is widely practiced in hospitals. This is unnecessary and merely adds stress to the family of the patient,” Gordon said.
Some hospitals in the country depend on blood replacement, known internationally as family replacement donation, for the bulk of their blood supply.
Forced blood donations, according to the PRC chairman, poses a threat to Filipinos as the replacement donors might undergo the safe screening process.
In 2010, the World Health Organization published a global framework stating that the practice of getting blood from replacement donors is exposed to the risk of transmission of infection. This is because donors may not disclose information about their health status or lifestyle behaviour when they are under pressure to provide blood to a patient.
PRC donors undergo a very strict screening process that includes an interview about their lifestyle, recent overseas visits, and health issues, which guarantees safety of blood provided by the humanitarian body.
Gordon also appealed to hospitals to halt private medical facilities’ practice of charging retesting fees for PRC blood units, stressing that is unnecessary and burdens poor Filipinos financially.