Monday, June 19, 2006

If they want donors, why not reward them?

I forgot to mention in my previous post that the clerks at the blood-and-urine lab, beside mistaking the tests' numerical codes, lost my redirection documents. I specifically asked, "Must the redirection papers stay with you?" and they answered, "Yes, you take just the result". Later this turned out to be a lie. The redirection papers are in 2 copies. The lab must keep one of them and give back the other to be returned to the doctor. (If you haven't yet understood, Bulgarian public health care system is engaged mainly with filling absurd paper forms and moving them around.) Never mind.
At least the redirection paper for the blood group test was returned to me, although it looked as if my son had played with it. So I went to the Blood Bank.
Several years ago the head of the Department of Childhood Hematology in a TV interview complained that there were too few potential bone marrow donors in Bulgaria. "Actually, our database contains only the parents of the young patients. You cannot hope to find a compatible donor among such a small group." He obviously didn't hope to move anybody, because he didn't say where potential donors had to register. Nevertheless, I found the place and volunteered to be inculded in the database. It was the Blood Bank in Sofia (the building is adjacent to the Pirogov emergency hospital).
Three years ago I needed a document certifying my blood group and my doctor sent me to the same institution. At that time, blood group determination was free. However, I didn't want to give a blood sample and somebody to work and waste reagents over it, after my blood group was already determined. So I said, "You actually needn't test my blood group. I am in your database as a potential bone marrow donor." The doctor said, "But it is forbidden for us to make transcripts of our files." However, she took a folder containing the donors' data (a pathetically thin folder) and found my file. She pointed to her colleague, who had come interested, "True. Here is her file, all the antigens are determined." Then, with a decisive gesture, she took a paper form and made a transcript of the file.
I kept this document carefully not only because of its usefulness, but also because she had done me a favour. But last year I had to undergo some surgery and they requested the document. After the procedure I wanted it back, but they said it had to remain there. My doctor later asked, "Why didn't you give them a copy?" Of course I would if I had any idea they intended to keep it forever! Who could foretell all the absurdities of the health care buraucracy?
So last week I went to the Blood bank again, but this time nobody dared to violate the rules and make a transcript. To cap it all, the Blood bank (a public institution) no longer works with the public health care fund, so if I wanted to make the test there, I had to pay 14 leva (EUR 7). They advised me to go instead to Ciba Lab, the nearest laboratory which, despite being private, deals with the redirection papers of the health care fund. I had no choice but to go to Ciba Lab, give them 2.90 leva fee for sampling blood, let them pierce my vein and obtain the result. At least this lab was clean, the lines of patients were not long, they obtained the result in less than a day and made no mistake with the famous redirection papers.
Eh well, if the health care system really needs bone marrow donors (and also blood donors), why doesn't it offer them some carrot? Such as a free document certifying their blood group when they need it? Is it so much? The information is stored in the system anyway. I regret I have no time to check who and why forbids giving this information to the donors.

1 comment:

Winston said...

Thanks for the input!