O-negative supplies prove the lifeblood of a family
When mother-of-three Rangana Abdulla looks at her young children, she is reminded of how glad she is that she did not have her first child in Hong Kong.
The British-born American of Indian descent has O-negative blood and when she had her son Aamir in Britain five years ago, she suffered post-delivery bleeding and needed six units of blood.
The London hospital had a supply that saved her life. It also meant Abdulla could have more children, something she knew she wanted.
'If I'd had my son in Hong Kong, I think the doctor would not have waited to see if O-negative blood was available and for it to take an hour,' she said. 'The doctor would have to make the choice to give me positive blood, making it impossible for me to have more children or I would die. It would have completely changed the course of my life.'
The 37-year-old moved to Hong Kong four years ago and was surprised at the lack of awareness of negative blood supplies.
'This is not an issue in the countries where expatriates come from, but people just don't know about it here. I'm American but I'm not a Caucasian so it would just be assumed that I'm not O-negative,'' Abdulla said.
'In the last four years, I haven't seen any big blood drives, not like in the US and the UK where they talk about the importance of the issue. [Here] I feel like it's a hush-hush matter. Nobody would want their wife or daughter to be in this situation.'