Health and wellness

How blood donation could be Hongkongers’ way to ease the stress on the city’s public hospitals

    PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 December, 2018, 2:00pm
    UPDATED : Saturday, 08 December, 2018, 2:00pm

    I refer to the article “Hong Kong government urged to cut cancer treatment waiting times, as some in the city wait up to 80 days to be seen” (October 7).

    I agree with the writer that we must narrow the waiting times for cancer treatment. While the onus of dealing with this problem falls largely on the government, Hongkongers also have a responsibility to help.

    To begin with, donating blood is the most effective way for citizens to help increase the survival rate of patients. One donation can potentially save up to three lives. Many citizens may have misconceptions about blood donation. For example, they are afraid they may not have enough blood left for themselves if they make a donation.

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    As the result, there have been shortages of blood in the Blood Transfusion Service run by the Red Cross, the sole public institution in Hong Kong supplying blood to hospitals. In fact, each donation collects only 10 to 12 per cent of a person’s total blood volume. Donors may feel weak after donating blood, but it takes only a short time to recover.

    If it is possible to dispel the misconceptions around donating blood, it might contribute to narrow the waiting times for cancer treatment.

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    Besides, the demand for cancer treatment may exceed the supply of doctors and resources in our hospitals. In order to put less stress on the hospital system, people should pay attention to their own health. For instance, a regular body check could help early detection of diseases.

    We all have a responsibility to work towards a better society by dealing with problems together.

    Ocean Wong, Po Lam