A 23-year-old woman in Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu has tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, after being transfused blood from a government hospital’s blood bank earlier this month, The Hindu reported.
The woman, who is eight months pregnant, had been told she needed a transfusion because she was anaemic. She was given blood from the Sivakasi government hospital blood bank, but it later emerged that the donor was HIV-positive. When the woman’s blood was tested, it was found that she had got infected, Joint Director of Health Services (Virudhunagar) R Manoharan told PTI.
The donor, who was unaware he was HIV-positive, had donated the blood at the Sivakasi hospital on November 30. The man later tested positive for HIV while undergoing a medical check-up before he went abroad for work. He then informed the blood bank, which tested his blood and found he was HIV-positive. But the blood had already been transfused to the 23-year-old woman by then.
The man had donated blood at a blood camp in 2016 as well, but was not informed he was HIV-positive, according to The Hindu. “It was the duty of the counsellor at the ICTC [Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre] to trace the man and inform him,” Manoharan was quoted as saying.
The woman became unwell about a week after her transfusion, Dr K Senthil Raj, project director, State AIDS Control Society, told The New Indian Express. Her symptoms included chills, fever and diarrhoea. Raj said that the fault was probably with the lab technician who mislabelled the donor’s blood. “The technician claims it was negative when tested,” he said.
An employee of the blood bank has been dismissed and two staff members have been suspended, PTI reported, quoting officials. State Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said that an inquiry will be held to identify “all loose ends”. Preliminary inquiry showed that staff at the blood bank had not screened the blood properly before sending it to the hospital where the woman was admitted.
Manoharan said that the health secretary has promised to take up the matter of compensation with the government. “Meanwhile, we have offered the job of a driver at Government hospital to the woman’s husband,” he said. However, the woman and her husband have filed a police complaint to seek action against the doctors, nurses and employees of the blood bank, PTI reported. Her husband told reporters that he did not want any job from the government but only the best treatment for his wife. He held the state government responsible for the incident.
The state government has said it will review the stocks in all blood banks in Tamil Nadu to ensure they are free of the virus.
Tamil Nadu minister D Jayakumar said: “The government is taking steps to prevent the impact of HIV on that woman with the help of technology. All stocks in blood banks will be analysed to ensure they are HIV-free.”