Home / Politics / Policy /  Pregnant woman contracts HIV after blood transfusion in Tamil Nadu; blood banks to be analysed

Chennai: All private and government blood banks in the Virudhunagar district will be analysed following a grave medical negligence in Tamil Nadu, in which a pregnant woman was transfused with HIV positive blood when being treated for anemia, earlier this month. One employee has been dismissed and two others of a government-run blood bank have been suspended. The health department has formed a high-level committee to investigate the matter.

On Wednesday, the joint director of health services in Virudhunagar, R. Manoharan, directed retesting of all stored blood samples at four private and 10 government-run blood banks in the Virudhunagar district.

The 23-year-old woman, eight months pregnant, was directed to undergo blood transfusion by doctors at the government hospital in Virudhunagar’s Sattur, after she was found anemic. She was transfused with blood brought from the blood bank at Sivakasi (Virudhunagar district) government hospital, earlier this month.

A man, unaware that he was infected with HIV had donated blood at the Sivakasi government hospital in November. Later, when he underwent a medical check-up before applying for a job abroad, he was tested positive for HIV. It was only after the donor informed the blood bank at Sivakasi government hospital his blood samples were re-tested. Further investigation also revealed that the pregnant woman had undergone blood transfusion from the HIV-infected donor.

On Wednesday, the woman who had been put on anti-retroviral treatment was transferred to the Madurai government hospital for further medical treatment.

While the woman and her husband have lodged a police complaint to seek action against the doctors, nurses and employees of the blood bank, the state government has assured them that it would take the necessary measures for the woman’s medical treatment and has also promised compensation.

In a shocking lapse of error at all quarters, the man had earlier donated blood at a blood donation camp organised by a private institute in 2016 at Sivakasi and had been found to be infected with HIV and Hepatitis B. However, the institution, which had collected the blood sample had failed to inform him.

“It was the duty of the counsellor at the Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre (ICTC) to trace the man and inform him," said Manoharan.

While addressing the reporters on Wednesday, Manoharan termed it as a “medical accident," and also informed that the HIV-infected man was being treated too.

A team of medical officials from the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society deputy director, Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) Centre, and others conducted the initial probe.

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