In December 2017, the Gulf countries had severed diplomatic relations with Qatar. It was alleged that the country was supporting terrorism and destabilising the region with the help of insurgent groups.
Besides having a severely debilitating effect on the local economy, the situation also led to a ban on the entry of all aeroplanes and ships from Qatar to these countries. Additionally, Saudi Arabia blocked the only land crossing.
In such a critical situation, the possibility of finding a donor with an incredibly rare blood group seemed like an implausible idea.
But thanks to the relentless efforts of one man from Kerala, the impossible was achieved, and a mother-baby duo lived to tell the tale.
This unsung hero is Nidheesh Raghunath, a native of Payyam village in Kannur district, who works as a tour coordinator in Qatar. Throughout his life, Nidheesh was told that his blood group, Bombay A+, was rare but this was to change soon.
Nidheesh was an active member of the the Blood Donors Kerala (Qatar Chapter). Two years ago, when he arrived at the Hamad International Hospital in Bahrain to donate blood for a medical emergency, an anomaly was discovered.
His blood group wasn’t Bombay A+ but even a rarer one— Bombay OH. Only two people including Nidheesh have this this blood group in Qatar.
All was well until Nidheesh received a frantic call to donate blood to a pregnant Indian woman in Kuwait. It was a medical crisis as the lady had to undergo an urgent C-section, which was delayed due to the unavailability of a donor.
One could call it divine intervention or merely luck because this message, that was circulated across social media, somehow managed to reach the Blood Donors Forum.
Nidheesh was immediately informed of the requirement, and he agreed to donate his blood.
Unfortunately, there were a few obstacles. First, the blockade on Qatar, and second, the rule that any person who wishes to donate blood in Kuwait, has to be a resident for over three years.
These impediments hardly seemed significant to Nidheesh. He was unwilling to back down because the mother and her child were fighting for their lives at this point.
Together, the collective went the extra mile to receive permission from the concerned authorities, and Nidheesh finally received a special visa.
This meant that the travel ban on Qatar was temporarily lifted!
Nidheesh’s brave act helped save the lives of the duo and turned him into an overnight hero for the expatriates in Kuwait. He was even felicitated by the country’s health department!
As a gesture of goodwill, the Hamad Hospital in Bahrain stocks Nidheesh’s blood every six months. This supply is not for donation but for the man himself, in case of any unprecedented medical emergency.
We salute Nidheesh and the volunteers of Blood Donors Forum. Without their relentless efforts, this unique and rare ‘blood relation’ wouldn’t have been forged.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)