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ISSUES WITH BLOOD DONOR SYSTEM

Published: 
Sunday, April 16, 2017

Reading the story of one of the people who was infected with the HIV virus from a blood transfusion passing away, made me angry. I am angry for a number of reasons. Primarily among them is that this person’s death, unlike the daily murders, was avoidable. Compounding the insult is when some fly-by-night, neophyte wannabe politician comes telling the population that the person did not die because of HIV. It is evident that this political newcomer lacks information about HIV and health issues in general.

People who contract HIV don’t ‘die’ from AIDS; they die from related issues as a result of their immune system’s inability to resist simple things like pneumonia. So cause of death would not read AIDS/HIV, but simply “pneumonia.” Further complicating matters, in recent times, cause of death in many instances have been simply given as “unknown.”

This bothers me because several years ago I took issue with the Blood Bank when asked to donate blood for a friend. Upon entry to the Blood Bank donors were provided with a questionnaire. The questionnaire seeks to ascertain one’s life story: one’s sex life, including one’s sexual orientation, if one has a criminal record, number of tattoos, how many body piercings one had accumulated to date, etc.

The questionnaire was both intrusive and ridiculous and I made it known to the staff. They indicated they were “only doing their job,” a common response by people who are too lazy to even think. It also implied that if one manages to answer all the questions correctly, there was no need for the blood to be tested. This basic assumption is seriously flawed. All blood must be tested to determine at least “type,’ and one would expect for other possible infections, including hepatitis, sickle cell etc.

Clearly this is not the case with the Blood Bank in T&T. This explains how, not one, but several persons, have become infected with transfusions. What is even more frightening is that it is quite possible that many others have been infected and are unaware. Private and public health institutions are not immune from the fallout of this scandalous behaviour. Someone should be held accountable. But in a land where the “blame game” is the only game people become proficient at, expecting that someone, anyone, will ever be held accountable is simply an exercise in futility.

I made the point on several occasions, both in discussions and in writing, that one of the major problems facing this nation is our poor work ethic. This poor work ethic explains from why bpTT refused to have their platform built here to why we have challenges in every sphere, in particular state institutions. It explains why BWIA/CAL, WASA, Petrotrin, T&TEC, NHA/HDC, government schools, and other state institutions are forever operating in the dark.

Meanwhile, we have yet to see any bank in this nation record a loss, despite recurring claims of recession and depression. The almost non-existent detection rate on murders by the T&T Police Service (TTPS) can also be explained by our sorry work ethic. And while I agree with the current PM that the government is not responsible for solving crime, it is the function of the police, the PM should know that when the government wishes to take credit for when “crime is down,” then they will be blamed for when it goes in the opposite direction.

I have also indicated on numerous occasions that cleaning up this nation is not a job for the faint-hearted. It is not a job for anyone who sees it as just “doing a job.” Cleaning up this nation requires testicular fortitude of the highest magnitude, since we did not wake up this morning and became ‘lawless.” We have been on that lawless path for quite some time and no one saw it fit or necessary to ‘bell the cat.”

Now that the box is finally opened, it is disingenuous to act surprised as we watch our citizens die.

Rudy Chato Paul, Sr.

D’Abadie