Bulgaria Black Market Blood - An 85-year-old man needed blood for surgery but doctors told his wife that they would have to find it on the black market in Bulgaria. Slavka Petrova swallowed her anguish and went out on a search. It’s a grim reality for patients and families in the Europe.
The struggling EU nation where donors are troublingly scarce, hospitals are strapped for funds and blood traders. Trading in blood and blood products is illegal in Bulgaria, punishable by a fine of up to euro5,000 ($7,100). However, lawyers say it’s difficult to prove an illegal blood transaction. It requires an official complaint lodged by the person who pays the donor - and families are so desperate they consider the black market blood donors lifesavers. In the streets around the blood clinic, a dozen men sit smoking on benches or in cafes, on the alert for people in need.
“Even before I had decided what to do, three men stood in front of me and one asked me what blood group I was looking for,” Petrova, an 82-year-old former government employee, told The Associated Press. “When they told me that this would cost me euro250 ($355), I thought, my God, this is my whole pension,” she said. “I went mute for a while and they decided to lower the price to euro 200 ($285).”
Once a deal is struck, a donor hanging out nearby is summoned, and turns up at the blood clinic masquerading as a relative. He gets a proof of donation certificate and sells it to the desperate family. The blood heads off to be checked, and if it is found to be disease-free it goes toward filling the clinic’s reserves. Health workers at the blood center are well aware of the illegal transactions but feel powerless to do anything.