A 23-year-old pregnant woman has tested positive for HIV after the blood of a donor, who had the virus, was given to her to treat anaemia at a government hospital in Sattur, Tamil Nadu, earlier this month.
The donor was not aware of his HIV-positive status when he gave blood. Three employees of the government hospital in Sivakasi, which collected the blood, have been placed under suspension for negligence.
The man had donated blood at the government hospital in his home town of Sivakasi in 2016, and had been found to be HIV-positive. But he was not told about his status.
Transfused this month
According to Joint Director of Health Services (Virudhunagar) R. Manoharan, the woman was given the blood brought from the Sivakasi Government Hospital on December 3. Both hospitals are in Virudhunagar district.
The blood was donated on November 30.
The donor underwent a medical check-up soon thereafter when applying for a job abroad, and tested positive for HIV.
He rushed to the Sivakasi GH seeking his blood donation report. A second blood test was then conducted at the hospital, which confirmed his HIV infection.
The finding set off a further probe, and the hospital authorities traced the donated blood to Sattur GH where it had been transfused to the pregnant woman. The woman was then brought to the hospital and tested, revealing the HIV infection. A probe was conducted by a team of medical officers, including the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society Deputy Director, and officials from Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) Centre. Based on their findings, two lab-technicians and a counsellor from Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre (ICTC) of Sivakasi were suspended on Monday.
The donor’s original intended recipient was one of his own relatives. However, his blood was not transfused to her. “It was this unit, kept in the blood bank, which was given to Sattur GH,” Dr. Manoharan said.
After the discovery of the pregnant woman’s HIV infection, doctors said they would give her the best care. The delivery of her second child is expected in January.
Dr. Manoharan also said he would take steps to get suitable compensation for negligence.
“The Health Secretary has promised to take it up with the Government. Meanwhile, we have offered the job of a driver at Government hospital to the woman’s husband,” he added.
Dr. Manoharan said, when the donor had tested positive in 2016 at a blood donation camp in Sivakasi, “it was the duty of the counsellor at the ICTC to trace the man and inform him.”