Over the past few days, Hamad Hospital has asked residents on social media for urgent donations of O+ blood. Such appeals are common in Qatar, where demand always seems to outpace supply. To take some of the mystery out of donating, British expat Brian Candy, who visited Hamad last week, shares what it was like to give blood for the first time in Qatar.
I was watching tweets going up my screen calling out for O positive blood. I did not hesitate, calling the number given in the tweets to get directions, and jumped in my car to head to Hamad.
On arrival, I found parking very easily, and a nice security guard was able to point out where to go. Once inside, reception took my details, and within just a couple of minutes I was sitting in an interview room answering some simple questions about my suitability.
Then I was sent off to another little room where I had a drop of blood taken from my finger. This was to test for something (I can’t remember what). I was then offered refreshments while I took a seat in the waiting area, and a couple of minutes later I was sat in a chair, and plumbed in.
Like a scratch
It didn’t hurt. Well a little scratch, but to be honest it was nothing. Once they had a line in me, there was zero discomfort and I was in a nice comfortable chair, so was quite happy to sit there for what seemed like about 10 minutes.
There is plenty of drink, and there are sandwiches to eat when you are done. They like you to sit down and take some refreshments after you have donated.
From start to finish, I was treated courteously. But then you would expect that. What I did not expect was the genuine gratitude that was extended to me by all. Seriously, it was like the blood was for them personally.
One day it could be you, me or someone we love in desperate need of that blood. Why wait for Hamad to reach out in desperation before giving. Take a little time out of your schedule when you can, and at your convenience pop along and give these guys what they need.
Reached by phone, a staff member at the HMC Blood Donor Center told Doha News that walk-ins are accepted, as long as prospective donors come with their Qatar ID cards.
The center is located directly across from the entrance to Hamad General Hospital, opposite the multi-story carpark.
If you’re declared fit (and haven’t traveled to certain restricted countries within six months) you can give blood immediately, she said. The staffer added that the current O+ shortage had been caused by a high demand for supplies, and not enough donors coming forward.
For more information, see this fact sheet on blood donation:
The center can be contacted at +974 44391081. Opening hours are 7am to 9pm from Saturday to Thursday.