Chennai

Woman claims KMC gave her HIV

Urgent transfer: The woman was referred from a Primary Health Centre at Mangadu as an emergency case on April 5.

Urgent transfer: The woman was referred from a Primary Health Centre at Mangadu as an emergency case on April 5.  

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Hospital dean insists blood was screened prior to transfusion; says PHC card entry was ‘handwritten’

Days after a 23-year-old pregnant woman tested positive for HIV following a blood transfusion at a government hospital in Sattur, a 30-year-old woman, who received two units of blood for treating severe anaemia during her second pregnancy at the Government Kilpauk Medical College (KMC) Hospital in Chennai in April, has made a similar complaint.

The woman, a resident of Mangadu, received two units of blood at KMC when she was five months pregnant. Four months later, her blood sample tested positive for HIV. Subsequently, her family lodged a complaint with the Health Department in October.

Prior to transfusion

The woman alleged that prior to the blood transfusion, her health card had an entry stating that she was ‘HIV negative’. Having previously lodged a complaint with the Health Department, she said she chose to speak to the media after the Sattur incident came to light.

However, KMC Dean P. Vasanthamani denied the claim that HIV-positive blood was transfused to her. “We received a complaint from the woman’s family through the Directorate of Medical Education on December 5, and I personally conducted an inquiry, considering the seriousness of the issue. We have documentary evidence to prove that the transfused blood was screened and was free of HIV infection,” she said.

The Dean said that the woman was referred to KMC from the Primary Health Centre (PHC) at Mangadu in suburban Chennai as an emergency case on April 5.

‘Severe anaemia’

“She was five months pregnant and had severe anaemia. Her haemoglobin was 5.5 grams per decilitre and we immediately transfused one unit of blood. Another unit of blood was transfused the next day. She was discharged after 11 days,” she said.

Dr. Vasanthamani said that at the time of admission, the woman produced a card from the PHC that contained a “handwritten note” that she was HIV negative. The woman returned for a check-up on August 16, when doctors at the out-patient department asked for her blood test reports.

“She had the card from her previous medical check-up at the PHC. As she did not have any documents or reports for the blood tests that had been done, the doctors did a blood test, as is the routine. She was found to be HIV-positive on August 18,” she added.

Dr. Vasanthamani said that an inquiry at the Mangadu PHC found that the woman had produced a document of a blood investigation done at a private laboratory, which notified that she was HIV-negative. It was on this basis that the PHC staff made an entry on the card.

The woman, when contacted, insisted that she had a report from the private clinic to prove that she was HIV-negative before undergoing blood transfusion at KMC. She said that when her HIV-positive status came to light, the staff at KMC immediately tested her husband, and he was found to be HIV-negative.

Safe childbirth

She was put on Anti Retroviral Therapy and delivered a boy through caesarean section on September 15. The hospital took measures to prevent HIV transmission to the baby soon after delivery, and the child was HIV-negative.

Her husband said they had sent a petition to the Health Minister in October, but were yet to receive a response. They remained silent, fearing the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, he said.

“My health condition has started to deteriorate. I used to sell vegetables for a living, but am now unable to work or even walk for a short distance. I face discrimination from my own sibling. It is the State government that is responsible for my condition,” the woman said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 10:53:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/woman-claims-kmc-gave-her-hiv/article25854820.ece

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