Chennai Hospital Doctors Advocate for Awareness on Rare Bombay Blood Group

In their experience spanning decades, doctors at Government Stanley Medical College Hospital recently came across a patient with Bombay O blood group, a rare blood group with incidence of only four in 10 lakh people. According to the doctors, a 46-year-old woman from Kumbakonam was referred from a private hospital a week ago for knee surgery after she fell at home and injured her knee joint and blood vessel. “But, her haemoglobin count was very less…she had only around five grams. For surgery, at least 10 -12 grams of haemoglobin is required,” said Dr Ponnambala Namasivayam, dean of Government Stanley Medical College. “The patient injured her knee blood vessel and knee joint. For such cases, surgery should be performed within 24 hours to save the leg. But, in her case, she was shifted from a private hospital to Chennai after a day. When we tested her, it was found that she had the rare Bombay O blood group. In my 21 years of experience, this was the first case I have come across,” said Dr K Elancheralathan, professor, Department of Vascular Surgery, Government Stanley Medical College Hospital.

As the doctors initially had no clue how to get the donors, they approached Radio Mirchi FM for help. “After one full day of announcement for requirement of this blood group through the radio channel, we got four donors from Chennai. No institutions in the State had stock of Bombay O blood group. We have donor’s registry, there were 50 people with the blood group. But, they were not reachable,” said Dr N Rajakumar, HoD of Transfusion Medicine, Government Stanley Medical College Hospital. “The patient was admitted on Tuesday last week and we could do surgery on Friday. But, we had to amputate her leg from knee down as it developed gangrene, decomposition of body tissue,” said Dr Elancheralathan. Bombay blood group is an extremely rare blood type, which was first discovered in 1952 in the erstwhile Bombay, hence the name. These people can receive blood only from another Bombay blood group donor, said doctors.

“We use anti H Sera test to detect this Bombay O positive group. We should create awareness about this group to save patients from such emergencies. The test should be performed for all O positive people to check for Bombay group for better donor registry,” said Dr Rajakumar. He added that in A blood group, there will be A antigen; in B, B antigen, and in O, H antigen. But in Bombay group, none of these antigens will be present.

What is Bombay blood group

Bombay blood group is an extremely rare blood type, which was first discovered in 1952 in the erstwhile Bombay, hence the name. These people can receive blood only from another Bombay blood group donor, said doctors. While in A blood group, there will be A antigen, in B, B antigen, and in O, H antigen, but in Bombay group, none of these antigens will be present.  Anti H Sera test is done to detect this Bombay O positive group. – New Indian Express

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