TAMIL NADU: A pregnant woman tested positive for HIV after she was given the infected blood at a government hospital in Sattur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, local media reported.
According to The Hindu, the woman, who was being treated for anaemia, was given blood brought in from Sivakasi Government Hospital on Dec 3. The blood was from a donor who was unaware that he had tested positive for HIV in 2016 after donating blood at a government hospital.
He donated blood again on Nov 30 this year.
Shortly after his recent donation, he underwent a medical check-up and found out he was HIV positive. He then went to Sivakasi Government Hospital to inform them. At the hospital, he took another test, which confirmed the result.
This set off a probe, during which the donated blood was traced to Sattur Government Hospital.
The pregnant woman, who had earlier undergone blood transfusion, was brought in for testing and found to be HIV-positive.
State Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan told the New Indian Express that she started showing symptoms such as chills, fever and diarrhea within weeks of the transfusion.
The official said: “While the first level of inquiry has been conducted to identify where the mistake took place, we will conduct further investigations to identify all loose ends,” he said. “We will also strengthen the counselling procedure to improve the screening.”
Dr K Senthil Raj, project director of the State AIDS Control Society, said in the Express report that it was believed that the lab technician had been careless with the procedure. “The lab technician labelled the blood as HIV Negative and stored it. The technician claims it was negative when tested,” he said.
“We have terminated the services of the lab technician, who gave the daily report, the counsellor who did not identify that the donor was in the high-risk category, and the blood bank’s medical officer.
“While this incident is a serious error and has taught an important lesson to the Health Department, this should not create panic around blood donation, as the blood bank system has been extremely crucial to the success of our healthcare system.”
The donor’s blood was meant to be transfused into one of his relatives, but was not used, reported The Hindu. “It was this unit, kept in the blood bank, which was given to Sattur GH,” said Joint Director of Health Services (Virudhunagar) R. Manoharan.
“It was the duty of the counsellor at the ICTC (Anti-Retroviral Therapy Centre) to trace the man and inform him” after he tested positive in 2016, he said.
The Hindu quoted him as saying that steps would be taken to provide the woman with appropriate compensation. “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.”
Doctors have also promised to take care of the woman following the mishap. She is expected to give birth in January. It is yet to be determined if the baby would be infected with HIV.