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‘Newborn baby needs platelets, not blood’

Plea to public for blood via social media

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The baby girl suspected to be suffering from an infection is admitted at Medcare Hospital.
Gulf News

Dubai: Concerned residents have responded to an appeal made for blood (O negative) via social media for a four-day-old baby who is currently receiving treatment — suspected to be suffering from either a congenital or acute infection.

Several blood donors have visited the Dubai Blood Donation Centre (DBDC) and the Sharjah Blood Transfusion and Research Centre, Gulf News can reveal.

The spokespersons from the centres clarified that there is sufficient O negative blood supply, and urged residents to understand the need for sustained blood donations.

The baby girl is admitted at Medcare Hospital, Dubai.

According to her doctor, Essam O.M Abd Al Bari, specialist neonatologist, the hospital was able to secure the necessary units from the Sharjah Blood Transfusion and Research Centre.

He told Gulf News, “The baby developed purpura spots [red spots] six hours after it was born due to decreased platelet count. We have been administering the required platelet units. The baby also has low haemoglobin, and the liver and spleen are a little enlarged. There is an indication of infection.”

He added that the case is still under investigation and is being treated as an infection.

Dr May Yaseen Raouf, medical director at the Sharjah Blood Transfusion and Research Centre, told Gulf News that a unit of blood is split into three separate components — red blood cells, blood plasma and platelets.

“We have information that the baby at Medcare requires a certain number of platelet units, and these have been provided from our bank as requested. Relatives and friends of the family have also donated, and these platelets have been reserved for the baby,” she said.

To adopt the right attitude towards blood donation, she advised residents to donate regularly and learn about blood donation.

“In the case of the newborn, the need was for platelets, not blood as reported via social media. We need public awareness and support to sustain our blood banks at an optimum level through regular blood donation so we can continue to offer patients the units they require,” she said.

A Dubai Blood Donation Centre (DBDC) spokesperson said: “The DBDC provides blood to more than 25 hospitals in Dubai and Medcare is one of the registered hospitals with us. We have sufficient supply of all blood groups, in fact, this week we have had higher than expected stock of O-ve blood group. We would like to thank the community members for their dedication which helps us ensure we can provide blood and blood products to those in need.”

The parents, James Reeves, general manager at a hotel in Dubai, and his wife, Isabelle, couldn’t be reached by press deadline.