In blast times, eunuch goes to donate blood, is turned away

Stories of callousness of hospitals is not new. Refusing beds to the terminally ill, denying care to the sick, making them wait for hours for an appointment…the list is endless.

And now, in blast times, if a recent incident at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital is to be considered a case in point, there is discrimination against those who want to help, also.

After the blasts, many people came forward to help and donate blood. Among them was Sita-a eunuch. After hearing of the plight of the victims of Saturdays blasts, Sita wanted to help and went to RML Hospital where the doctors refused to accept her blood and turned her away.

This, apparently, at a time when the hospital would have needed as much blood as possible!

Metro Now

For the doctor at the blood bank, the fact that Sita was a eunuch was enough to send her on her way. “When I went to donate blood on Saturday around 10 pm, Dr Veena Doda, the blood bank incharge, said they did not need a eunuchs blood and turned me away,” Sita said. Shockingly, this happened at a time when dozens of injured people had been brought to the hospital for treatment.

Harsh Malhotra, secretary general, Delhi Pradesh National Panthers Party, who witnessed the incident on Saturday night, said, “It is human blood after all and in times of crisis such attitude is not acceptable. The doctor misbehaved with Sita just because she is a eunuch.”

While confirming that there was a shortage of blood at the hospital, Rahul Verma of Uday Foundation-a non-profit organisation for congenital defects and rare blood groups-said, “I got phone calls from anxious relatives of victims telling me that the hospital was short of blood that evening,” he said.

A NACO survey shows that, voluntary donation in Delhi is only 24 per cent. “Blood shortages are a regular feature and if hospitals are turning away donors then obviously there are no plans to increase blood donation.”

Denying any knowledge of the incident, Medical Superintendent, Dr N.K. Chaturvedi, said, “At the time of the blast we had 250 units of blood of all blood groups. Many voluntary organisations came and donated blood but then we redirected the donors to Red Cross as it is centralised and all hospitals could get blood from there.” He, however, added that there was a blood donation camp at the hospital on Sunday and Monday.

But why was Sita refused? Was it because she is a eunuch? “That you have to ask Dr Doda as she is the incharge of the blood bank,” said Dr Chaturvedi. Efforts to contact Dr Doda, however, failed.

Whats more, even the law has provisions that prevent people like Sita from exercising their duty as a citizen.

When asked, Aditya Bandyopadhyay, a gay lawyer, says, “According to the Blood Safety Regulation, there is a clause in the form (which the donor has to fill) that asks if the donor is male or female. If the answer is none, then the doctors can refuse to take blood from such a donor.” He adds that so long as Article 377 is alive, such discriminatory clauses would remain.

Would you rate this as discrimination? Should eunuchs be given equal rights?

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