Ministry denies Blood Bank closure caused woman’s death

The Min­istry of Health of­fers has de­nied that a 71-year-old woman of Diego Mar­tin died over the Car­ni­val pe­ri­od be­cause the Blood Bank was closed.

The min­istry has al­so ex­tend­ed con­do­lences to the be­reaved fam­i­ly who had claimed that the woman died at the Port-of-Spain Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal as a re­sult of in­ad­e­quate at­ten­tion by doc­tors. The woman died on Car­ni­val Mon­day.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, the Min­istry of Health said the re­port from the North West Re­gion­al Health Au­thor­i­ty (NWRHA) in­di­cates that the pa­tient did not die as a re­sult of an in­ad­e­quate sup­ply of blood.

The min­istry said the Na­tion­al Blood Bank of T&T, with re­spon­si­bil­i­ty to con­duct com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­ease screen­ing on all blood and blood prod­ucts for the coun­try, was ful­ly op­er­a­tional dur­ing the en­tire Car­ni­val pe­ri­od and op­er­ates on a 24-hour, sev­en days a week sched­ule.

The min­istry said it should be not­ed that:

• Most ma­jor pub­lic hos­pi­tals keep an in­ter­nal sup­ply of blood for emer­gency use

• If this sup­ply is de­plet­ed or a spe­cif­ic blood type is re­quired then a re­quest is made to the

• Na­tion­al Blood Bank for ad­di­tion­al sup­ply.

• The re­quired blood type was avail­able at the Na­tion­al Blood Bank for re­quired use in this in­stance.

• The pa­tient was giv­en blood from the in­ter­nal blood sup­ply of the Port of Spain Gen­er­al

Hos­pi­tal. No for­mal re­quest was made to the Na­tion­al Blood Bank for ad­di­tion­al blood for this


The min­istry said the Port-of- Spain blood do­na­tion cen­tre was closed dur­ing the Car­ni­val pe­ri­od due to its prox­im­i­ty to ma­jor Car­ni­val ac­tiv­i­ties.

It said the cen­tre is not an emer­gency ser­vice and does not af­fect the abil­i­ty of hos­pi­tals, pri­vate and pub­lic, to source blood from the Blood Bank.

The stan­dard op­er­at­ing hours of the Port- of- Spain Blood Do­na­tion Cen­tre are Mon­day to Fri­day from

8 am to 2.30 pm and on Sat­ur­days from 8 am to 2.30 pm.

The Min­istry of Health is as­sur­ing the pop­u­la­tion of its com­mit­ment to pro­vid­ing an ad­e­quate sup­ply of blood to the pop­u­la­tion and en­cour­ages the per­sons to vol­un­tar­i­ly do­nate blood at any of the na­tion’s blood do­na­tion cen­tres.

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