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Seriously ill Covid-19 patients given hope with controversial 1,000 euros incentive for blood plasma donations

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https://www.prfire.com/

The Mayor of Bucharest, Gabriela Firea, has taken what many believe to be a radical step to save the lives of Covid-19 patients in the city. She is offering 1,000 EUR worth of essential retail vouchers for blood donations from citizens who have recovered from the virus. Antibodies from the donated blood plasma will be used as an emergency treatment to help seriously ill patients.

Gabriela Firea explained, “Convalescent plasma treatment is currently undergoing multiple studies across the globe and initial results are very promising. The plasma from recovered patients is rich with antibodies and can be used to stimulate further antibody production in patients being treated for Covid-19.”

However, Romania already has one of the lowest rates of blood and plasma donation in Europe, and the country currently has an alarming 67,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 infections. Of the 31,500 people who have recovered, only around 400 have donated blood, despite public appeals. This led Gabriela Firea to launch the voucher initiative.

Any qualifying individual who donates blood plasma will receive vouchers worth 1,000 EUR. These can be used to buy food, medicine and other essential goods from stores in Bucharest, providing both an incentive to donate and an injection of capital into the city’s beleaguered retail sector.

Despite criticism from the opposition, who linked the programme to organ trafficking and made emotive calls in the media for it to be stopped, Gabriela Firea stands by her decision. “Other government initiatives have failed to increase donation rates,” she said. “Providing a financial incentive to those who have recovered from the virus is one of the best ways to prevent more people from dying.”

Overcoming negative social attitudes to blood donation will not be straightforward, and it remains to be seen whether or not Romanians will be sufficiently convinced of the benefits of plasma donation. Trials are still ongoing.

“I’m not advocating the use of the donated plasma until the trials are complete,” added Gabriela Firea. “If the studies show negative results, the worst-case scenario will be that we’ve paid for blood, which can still be used for routine hospital operations. On the other hand, we could be saving thousands of lives and assisting the global search for effective treatment.”

If the scheme is successful in Bucharest, Gabriela Firea hopes it can be implemented nationwide, where similar shortages exist and the process of soliciting donations has been impeded by bureaucracy, public attitudes and inaction on the part of the Ministry of Health.

For more information, contact:
Alexandru Burghiu
+40 735 262 102
alexbu09@yahoo.com
City Hall Bucharest

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Seriously ill fashion designer finds therapy through his hand painted designs

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A critically ill organ transplant patient who has had an operation cancelled twice due to the coronovirus pandemic is healing himself though his hand painted leather jacket company.

Richard Gair, of Gogairy Hand Painted Leathers, has survived a pancreas and kidney transplant after suffering from diabetes since a teenager.

Now 47, he survives on a daily cocktail of pills and injections to keep him alive. Over the past 18 months he has developed a painful hernia the size of a football which has split open his abdomen and until the procedure he will need a number of Botox injections to relax the surrounding muscles. This will allow the operation to more straight forward and less stressful on his abdomen. The operation was due to take place in March but was pushed back to April and now has been moved again with no further date planned

Artist and fashion designer Richard is on daily opiate painkillers to numb the pain from all this and is disappointed that his operation was cancelled, saying, “It’s a lot of mental preparation for an operation of this kind especially with an 80% survival rate. I have been fully prepped and prepared myself for it for several months. Now it’s been cancelled and of course I understand why. So I shall just carry on painting and selling my jackets.

GoGairy creates unique hand painted leather and vegan friendly faux leather jackets. Customers can create their own design which he then paints onto a jacket, making a bespoke timeless fashion piece for the wearer. Despite the pandemic the orders are flying in.

Richard said, “Everyone’s online and the traffic to my website and the GoGairy Facebook page is huge, it’s great! I have dropped by prices to reflect the current climate but life has to go on and I am very fortunate that my business is one working from home so I am unaffected by this.

I am in constant pain as a result of my health issues, and I do need to take a daily nap but I find painting really helps with the pain, it’s a really good distraction; a therapy and focusing on painting takes my mind off it. My operation was cancelled but in a way it’s blessing as I would have not been able to work for two to three months. And I can’t imagine not painting, I love it, I love creating a unique piece of art that people are proud to wear.”

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