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Accept me, accept me not…


Criteria 1

This is what happened when a young man went to the blood bank…

“How can I forget my wonderful first experience with Donner Sang Compter a few months ago, when they had a blood drive at our campus in collaboration with the AUBMC blood bank staff?” states a young engineering student from Notre Dame University (NDU).

Despite suffering from ‘diabetes’, a medical condition where the blood sugar level is unusually high, the student was able to joyfully give blood back then.

“I was a bit surprised because I always thought that having ‘diabetes’ would not allow me to donate.”

But things did not go as planned elsewhere with him.

Contacted by our call center team to help fulfill an urgent demand at the Hotel Dieu de France hospital a few months later, he was left in a state of shock after getting rejected for ‘having diabetes’.

“I was furious with the blood bank. I couldn’t understand why. My condition was well controlled, and I was under daily treatment. Why would a center accept my donation, and why would another not allow it?”

Unfortunately, this situation is one of many blood donors in Lebanon have to deal with on a daily basis.

They get rejected for ‘silly reasons’ at some blood banks, despite having been able to donate elsewhere before for the same conditions, and can’t but raise question marks about the whole blood donation system in the country, which contributes to making them lose hope and passion for the cause.

The main problem is that there are no unified criteria for accepting/rejecting donors adopted by all of the Lebanese hospitals; some follow the ‘American standards’, others the ‘French standards’, and some even have their own donor selection criteria!

It was not until very recently that the Ministry of Public Health (MPH), in collaboration with “l’Etablissement Français du Sang” (EFS), has finally worked on setting unified criteria for the selection of blood donors, but these have yet to become mandatory.

Till then, hospitals continue to work on their own, accepting and rejecting donors differently, and the struggle continues…

Here are a few conditions heavily debated among the local blood banks:

  • The sex: girls being refused just for being girls!
  • Tattoos and piercings: some are allowed after 6 months, others after a whole year.
  • Travels: especially those coming from Europe (the mad cow disease issue), and Arab Gulf Countries (the coronavirus issue). Details about this topic will follow soon in another post.
  • Chronic conditions: hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, asthma…
  • A ‘low’ hemoglobin level: the little difference between 12.7 and 13 g/dL for girls can lead to the rejection at some blood banks.
  • The weight: Boys have to weigh > 50kg at some blood banks and > 60kg at others.

Have you faced any of these situations? Have you faced some others?

Share with us your experiences!

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About Fred Bteich

A metal fan, a blogger and a news/sports-obsessed medical student.

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