The Madras High Court on Friday ordered that a woman who had contracted Human Immunodeficiency Virus through a blood transfusion while she was pregnant at a government hospital in Tamil Nadu be given Rs 25 lakh as compensation and a government job and home, PTI reported. In December, the woman was given blood as treatment for anaemia from the Sivakasi government hospital blood bank, but it later emerged that the donor was HIV-positive.
“The state government should deposit Rs 10 lakh in the account of the woman and Rs 15 lakh in the name of the newborn and its elder sibling,” said the order by the court’s Madurai bench, according to Hindustan Times. “This is besides the house that should be built for the family of the victim.” The court also said that the order should be carried out by January 11, 2020.
The petition also sought directions from the court to fill up vacancies in the Tamil Nadu AIDS Control Board and that the woman should be given adequate treatment. Three workers of the Sivakasi government-run hospital have been suspended for failing to screen the blood properly, the petitioner said.
The bench said that medical staff, including nurses, counsellors, and blood bank technicians, should be hired according to conditions of the National AIDS Control Organisation. It also said that the government should monitor blood banks, antiretroviral therapy centres, and medical documents along with inspection of equipment, adding that an expert committee should be formed to ensure safety during blood donation and transfusion.
Following the incident in December last year, a preliminary inquiry showed that the staff at the blood bank had not screened the blood properly before sending it to the hospital where the woman was admitted. Later, tests revealed that she had also contracted Hepatitis B.
The woman and her husband have also filed a police complaint, seeking action against doctors, nurses and employees of the blood bank. The government had said it would review stocks in all blood banks across the state to ensure they are free of the virus.
The blood donor – a 19-year-old – had died at the Rajaji Hospital in December, days after attempting suicide by consuming rat poison. According to reports, the donor was tested as HIV-positive in 2016 when he donated blood at a camp in Virudhunagar district’s Sattur town. However, he was out of town when the counsellor called him up to inform him. The counsellor left a message for him, asking him to report to the centre. But he did not pursue the case when the donor did not turn up.