For more than ten years, 34 year-old Jack Nesbit has regularly given blood at a local NHS centre in Tooting. Having always been so proud of his decision to donate, he was delighted with the news that donors would now be sent a text each time their blood was about to save a life.
Within hours, Jack’s mobile phone was alive with notifications. ‘I was over the moon to receive my first few texts and even forwarded them to family and friends to share my excitement. It felt great!’ he said.
But his new found joy didn’t last long. ‘It was all right to start with,’ he said, ‘but then I got these messages telling me the people they’d given my blood to had died. I was devastated.’
Looking further into the new system, it appears the NHS wants to help donors feel closer to the patients they wish to help. Hence Jack’s phone has been inundated with messages like, ‘Sadly, 26 year old Penny Stevens didn’t make it. Her grieving mother, Pam, will text the date of the funeral to you asap.’
Jack claims he’s even getting texts asking him to visit patients after their operations. ‘I feel bad for them,’ he said, ‘but I’ve hardly had time to do anything else since all this started and it’s costing me a fortune in wreaths, not to mention bus fares and grapes for all the bedside vigils. Most of the time they’re in a coma anyway and I have to sit there for hours on end reading poems into an ear trumpet!’
The situation has improved a lot since Jack changed his mobile number and made the difficult decision to stop donating. ‘I’m pretty sure someone at the centre didn’t like me and kept sending my blood to people who were probably going to die anyway,’ he said. ‘Even my ex-girlfriend who works there can’t understand it.’