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Activist writes to the health ministry and AIIMS Delhi asking to probe blood donation by Bhim Army chief who suffers from a serious blood disease

Dr Prashant Sharma had taken to Twitter on May 16 to apprise that Chandrashekhar Azad had donated blood with his doctor Harjit Singh Bhatti recently at AIIMS Delhi.

An activist, Prerna Thiruvaipati, is member of an organisation called ‘All India Dalit Youth Association’ has written a letter to the health ministry and the management of AIIMS-Delhi in which she has urged the two to probe the recent blood donation by the Bhim Army chief, Chandrashekhar Azad. The activist wrote that Azad is suffering from polycythemia vera, a medical condition in which it is not advisable to donate blood to others. Prerna took to Twitter today to apprise the same.

In her subsequent tweets, the activist shares a tweet recently posted by a doctor named Prashant Sharma, who first raised the issue on social media. The e-mail she wrote to the Health Ministry and AIIMS Delhi, was based on the tweet shared by Dr Prashant Sharma.

Screengrab of the e-mail written to the concerned depts by Prerna Thiruvaipati

Dr Prashant Sharma flagged that Azad had donated blood recently at AIIMS Delhi

Dr Prashant Sharma had taken to Twitter on May 16 to apprise that Chandrashekhar Azad had donated blood with his doctor Harjit Singh Bhatti recently at AIIMS Delhi. He wrote that Azad is suffering from polycythemia vera, a blood disorder. He said that under this medical condition, a person cannot donate blood to another person and by doing so Azad has risked the life of a person. Calling it a publicity stunt Sharma asked whether Dr Bhatti will be held accountable as he is Azad’s consulting doctors. Sharma had substantiated his claims with relevant screenshots.

On May 16, Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti had tweeted that he and Azad had donated blood at the JPNA AIIMS trauma center. He had posted several photographs of the same. But when people on social media started to point out that Azad is not eligible to donate blood, he removed all his posts about the donation.

“Today Chandra Shekhar Azad donated blood with Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti ..he is suffering from polycythemia Vera a blood disorder. Can this blood be transfused to a patient. Is this a mere publicity stunt and risking life of a person.. Will Dr bhatti be held legally responsible,” Sharma’s post on May 16 read.

It may be noted that Bhatti himself had informed that his patient Azad suffers from polycythemia. He and the lawyers of Azad had even cited this health condition to demand bail for Azad.

Polycythemia is a disease state in which the percentage of red blood cells in the blood and/or haemoglobin concentration increases. These excess cells thicken the blood, slowing its flow, which may cause serious problems, such as blood clots. According to the Mayo clinic, polycythemia vera is a type of blood cancer.

Activist shares links of older reports confirming the medical condition of Chandrashekhar Azad

Based on these assertions, the activist wrote to the Health Ministry. Her letter read: “Two weeks ago, we saw pictures of Chandrashekhar Azad (who heads an outfit called Bhim Army and a political party called Azad Samaj Party), donating blood at Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Center at AIIMS. His doctor, Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti, shared the pictures on Facebook…”

“This is shocking. Media has reported time and again that Azad is suffering from a disease called Polycythemia, which is a blood disorder, and blood of such a person can not be transfused to a patient.”

The letter also gives links to several news reports on the health condition of Azad.

One of those reports, published by India Today in January 2020, said, “Chandrashekhar Azad is suffering from polycythemia, a condition in which the body makes too many red blood cells.”

Report by India Today

It mentioned a report published by Scroll dated January 9, 2020, titled: “Treat Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad in AIIMS, Delhi court tells Tihar Jail authorities” which also categorically mentioned that the Bhim Army chief was suffering from polycythemia.

Report published by Scroll on January 9, 2020

In the letter, the activist has urged the authorities to probe whether Azad and his doctor hid his medical condition from AIIMS before donating blood, whether AIIMS did not follow due protocol before accepting blood from him, and what happened to the donated blood.

The letter says, “there appears to be a major lapse on the part of AIIMS-Delhi” that “can jeopardize the health and safety of many patients”.

According to a report by Swarajya, the media house had sent several messages to the spokesperson of AIIMS to comment on the issue but did not receive any reply. It also said that Azad’s doctor, Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti had removed all the said blood donation posts from his timeline. Neither Bhatti or Azad have responded to Prashant Sharma’s post that first flagged the issue in public.

It may be noted that Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti is the same person who had posed as an AIIMS doctor to given statements on the JNU violence in January this year after injured students were admitted at the hospital. Several media houses had carried his comments as ‘official’ AIIMS statement, despite the fact that he is not employed at the premier medical institute. He is the former president of the Resident Doctors’ Association at AIIMS, but no longer employed there. Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti is the national convenor of the All India Medical Cell of the Congress party, and also a doctor and supporter of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad.

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