The patient at MGM Medical College and Hospital on Monday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
An HIV positive patient admitted to MGM Medical College and Hospital in Jamshedpur discovered to her horror on Monday that she had been given a packet of ORS that had expired, prompting her husband to lodge a complaint with the authorities.
While the superintendent in-charge of the hospital has promised to look into the matter, the patient’s family and members of support groups have expressed serious apprehension about the quality of treatment being provided at the government hospital
The 30-year-old woman, who had been diagnosed with the condition three years ago, is from Baridih. She had been admitted to the hospital on June 6 after doctors told her she needed blood. During the course of her treatment, she was also being given rejuvenating drinks of oral rehydration salts.
On Monday, as soon as she saw that the ORS packet had expired in May, she informed her husband, who is also HIV positive.
Before leaving the hospital after completing treatment, she informed the duty nurse and D.P. Shukla, president of Jamshedpur district-level network for people living with HIV/AIDS, an organisation that works for the welfare of patients.
Later, Shukla came to the hospital, collected the packet of ORS that had expired and complained to the principal of MGM Medical College, A.N. Mishra, who is holding dual charge as hospital superintendent.
“I went over to the medicine store and asked the nurse on duty to provide me with a packet of ORS. She gave me one with expiry date of August, 2014. But when I showed her the expired packet, the nurse said that it must have been mistakenly handed over by a staffer,” Shukla told The Telegraph.
Shukla claimed to have found over 250 packets of expired ORS at the medicine store. “ORS is given to patients especially during the summer. But if this energy drink has expired, then it may aggravate the patient's condition,” Shukla said.
Superintendent-in-charge Mishra confirmed having received a verbal complaint. “I have received a complaint about expired ORS being given to patients. It is a serious issue. I will have the matter probed and take strong action against those found guilty,” he added.
The patient’s husband was understandably upset. “We do not know whether the medicines the hospital is providing HIV-positive patients are also dated or not. All I can say is that patients suffering from HIV/AIDS are getting step-motherly treatment,” he said.