The transfusion of HIV-infected blood to a pregnant woman at the Sattur Government Hospital is “regrettable”, and “exclusive and high quality treatment” would be provided to the victim at the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) in Madurai, Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan has said.
Besides the termination of the services of three health employees of the Sivakasi Government Hospital, from where the blood was brought, for negligence, criminal charges would also be filed against them, he said.
Mr. Radhakrishnan, who visited the 23-year-old woman and her family in Virudhunagar on Wednesday, told journalists that a team of doctors would provide ‘exclusive’ treatment to the woman at a special ward in the GRH as per the request of the affected family. “If the family is not satisfied with the treatment there, the Chief Minister has directed us to provide her with treatment at a private hospital,” he said.
Later, the Health Secretary accompanied the woman to the GRH and inspected the special ward where she was admitted.
Infected with Hepatitis B as well
As the donor’s blood test proved that he was infected with Hepatitis B as well, he directed the health officials to monitor the pregnant woman for Hepatitis B infection too.
The woman would also receive treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the infection. Anti-retroviral therapy would be provided to her, he said.
Stating that 8 lakh donors were donating blood every year and blood was being provided to 12 lakh people, Mr. Radhakrishnan said, “Every unit of blood donated is tested for HIV, Hepatitis-B, Hepatitis-C, Syphilis and Malaria.”
‘No need to panic’
Blood donation in government and private hospitals were done under the supervision of the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society and the quality control of blood donation and storage were done by an independent agency. “People need not fear contaminated blood being given to the beneficiaries,” A high-level inquiry had been ordered for probing “supervisory lapses”, if any, he said.
Donor attempts suicide, admitted to hospital
Dejected that he had tested positive for HIV and the blood he had donated had infected a pregnant woman, the 19-year-old donor attempted suicide, and was admitted to the government district headquarters hospital in Ramanathapuram.
Hospital sources said the donor, a native of a village near Kamuthi and employed in a cracker unit in Sivakasi, consumed poison on returning home on Wednesday. He was given first-aid at the local government hospital and referred to the headquarters hospital for further treatment.
His condition was stable and he was out of danger, sources said. He became enraged at the sight of media in the hospital, and even threatened to pull out the tubes, after which the hospital authorities banned the media from entering the ward.
The donor said he was not aware of his condition when he donated blood on November 30. Later, when he went for medical check-up for a job abroad, he was told that he had tested positive for HIV.
He went to the Sivakasi hospital to report this to the blood bank on December 10, but by then, his blood had been sent to Sattur and given to the pregnant woman to treat anaemia, the sources said.
Stocks to be checked
Amid the developments, Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar told journalists in Chennai that stocks in all blood banks would be reanalysed to ascertain whether they have been infected,
(Assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts is available on the State’s health helpline 104 and Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050.)