Rhesus Negative Blood

Lack of rhesus negative blood increases the risk to everyone particularly women and children.

In emergency rooms delay in giving red cells is one of the commonest causes of preventable mortality. In catastrophic hemorrhage it is not uncommon for blood to be needed before a patient’s blood group is known. In these circumstances the safest blood to give is O negative. Most private and many public hospitals in Hong Kong do not carry sufficient rhesus negative blood and use rhesus positive for unexpected life threatening hemorrhage. A small number of rhesus negative patients have antibodies to rhesus positive blood that can lead to a life threatening transfusion reaction. In addition the use of rhesus positive blood in women of childbearing age or younger could prevent them from having future successful pregnancies. It is clear that most doctors being aware of the potential tragic consequences arising from giving rhesus positive blood are likely to delay giving blood until the last moment. Those of us who have worked in emergency rooms can attest that the last moment is difficult to judge and may have fatal consequences.

We are pleased that after advocacy from one of our charities founders, the board of the Matilda hospital have agreed to fund the cost of providing a stock of 4 units of rhesus negative blood. In our view this was essential as the Matilda not only had the largest number of vulnerable maternity patients but also was logistically the most isolated.

We would like to raise I40 000 HKD for each of three private hospitals who currently do not keep a supply of rhesus negative blood for unanticipated emergencies. We have targeted the three hospitals that are most likely to treat the rhesus negative patients and are logistically at risk because of the distance between the hospital and the Red Cross at Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital where rhesus negative blood is stored.

We hope that if we provide the funding for the first year, private hospital managers may realize that this is an issue which their patients feel strongly about and perhaps consider allocating a portion of their 2017 budget to provide for a safer blood supply.

Written by PCF