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Times of India
11 July 2011
By, Sumitra Deb Roy
Mumbai, India

Dombivli resident Digambar Dhuri (62) was advised to undergo a bypass surgery due to multiple blocks in his coronary arteries. However, the problem of arranging blood has become a bigger concern for him than the surgery itself, because Dhuri is one of the very few people who have the Bombay Blood Group.

Less than 200 people in the country share this blood group. As his relatives started their hunt for donors across city hospitals and blood banks, they found that Mumbai had fewer than 50 people with the Bombay Blood Group. Out of them, only 16-odd were available or fit for donating blood. Dhuri’s surgery had to be put on hold as doctors could not go ahead without adequate blood units for back-up.

Dhuri’s son, Kaustubh, an insurance professional, said that the family was unaware of his father’s rare blood group all these years. People with this blood group are often mistakenly labelled as Group O. On further testing, however, Dhuri’s blood did not match O-ve or O+ve blood groups. This was when the doctors realized that Dhuri was categorized under Bombay Blood Group.

Meanwhile, doctors at Dombivli’s Icon Heart Institute have decided to apply the technique of autologous blood transfusion as Dhuri’s surgery cannot be put on hold for too long. “ The patient’s own blood is drawn and stored prior to the surgery.

The same two units of blood are then transfused to the patient during the procedure,” said Dr Bijoy Kutty, director, Icon Heart Institute.

Kutty said that autologous transfusion was not for everyone as haemoglobin levels have a big role to play in it. However, it is a ray of hope for people from Bombay Blood Group who are usually refused surgery for want of adequate blood units.

Dhuri’s family has also managed to contact two donors from this rare group to donate blood. Vice president of Think Foundation, Vinay Shetty, said that even within the blood group there is a sub-division. “There are just about four Bombay group Rh negative people in the country and the numbers are slightly higher for Rh positive. In all, donors are really difficult to find,” he added.

What is Bombay Blood Group?
P eople with this group are found not to be of either group A or B. They are often mistakenly categorized under Group O.
The absence of antigen ‘h’ makes this blood group extremely rare.

Individuals with Bombay phenotype blood group can only be transfused with blood from other Bombay phenotype individuals.

If a Bombay blood group individual is transfused with blood from any other group, it could be fatal.

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