Relatives of hospital patients have alleged they were forced to donate blood before surgeons will operate.
But Chinese PLA General Hospital (Beijing 301 hospital) in Haidian district, subject of recent online allegations about forced blood donations, say the accusations are untrue. The hospital could not be reached for comment yesterday.
“My aunt bribed the doctor 3,000 yuan ($467) to get in for stomach cancer surgery. The surgery needed 600 ccs of blood, and we were told to find two people to donate or else they wouldn’t do it,” said a local resident, who wants to be known as Momo.
Momo posted her experience on Sina Weibo last Friday. She said although one of her relatives gave blood, the hospital charged them for the blood transfusion during the surgery.
Web user Zhang Lin posted a photo on Weibo of a notice for “blood donation in mutual assistance” at a Beijing hospital Tuesday. Relatives will get a “blood use application” form with the hospital’s seal after they donate. Only with that form can the patients get blood for surgery, the notice said.
A surgeon at the hospital told the Legal Mirror that with the blood supply shortage, patients’ relatives have to donate first. But later a publicity employee with the hospital told the paper that they were not forcing donations. Most of the blood for operations comes from their blood bank, and only a few people volunteer to donate for their relatives.
Donating blood for relatives is welcome but not mandatory, said Ma Yanming, media spokesperson for the Beijing Municipal Health Bureau.
“We have publicity boards in most hospitals that inform people of mutual-assistance blood donation, but it only applies if people are willing,” he said.
Hospitals will be punished if found forcing people to donate blood before conducting surgery, and residents are welcome to file complaints with the municipal health bureau, they advised.
“Summer and winter are the low seasons for blood donations, but it’s just when the city needs blood the most,” said a spokesman with Beijing Red Cross Blood Center, surnamed Su. Su said he has not heard of any hospitals that have forced people to donate.
“To donate blood is about offering, and you can’t just expect to get it when people are unwilling to give,” Ma said.
Residents can call the health bureau’s hotline 12320 to report on hospitals if they are forced to give blood, Ma said.