A 24-year-old pregnant woman contracted HIV, allegedly after being transfused contaminated blood supplied by a blood bank, prompting the Tamil Nadu government to order examination of all stocks.
The services of three lab technicians of the blood bank attached to a government hospital at Sattur, near here, have been terminated, health minister C. Vijayabaskar said on Wednesday.
Vijayabaskar said such a “disheartening and shocking” incident had never happened in the state before.
A thorough probe was on, the minister said and promised stringent action against those found guilty.
The woman and her husband lodged a police complaint on Wednesday, seeking action against doctors, nurses and employees of the blood bank.
Police said an FIR had been registered against the doctors and nurses involved in the transfusion and other blood bank workers for medical negligence under sections of the penal code but did not elaborate.
The state government said it was making all efforts to prevent the impact of the virus on the woman and stocks in all blood banks would be reviewed to ensure that such incidents did not recur.
The joint director of health services, Virudhunagar, R. Manoharan, told PTI the woman, who was eight months’ pregnant with her second child, had gone for a check-up at a private clinic in Sattur where doctors advised her blood transfusion citing haemoglobin deficiency.
She subsequently underwent blood transfusion at the Sattur government hospital and the blood was brought from the blood bank.
It later emerged that the donor was HIV positive, the official said, adding the recipient’s blood was also tested, which confirmed that she too had got infected by the virus.
Police said the 19-year-old donor, on coming to know about the incident, allegedly attempted to commit suicide by consuming poison. He has been admitted to a hospital.
They said the youth, employed at a local fireworks unit in Sivakasi, had donated blood for a girl, his relative, who was seriously ill. But the blood group did not match and it was kept in the blood bank. Subsequently, when he had gone for a health check-up at Madurai for an overseas job, he had tested HIV positive, officials said.
A preliminary inquiry revealed that the blood bank staff had failed to screen the blood properly. The personnel who tested the donor’s blood had labelled it “safe”, officials said.
Minister Vijayabaskar said a detailed treatment was on to ensure the virus does not affect the foetus, adding the government was giving livelihood assistance to the affected woman’s family.
Lakhs of people have been provided with blood component annually, including in the form of blood, and “there have been no complaints (of such nature) so far”, he told reporters in Chennai.The woman’s husband held the state government responsible. He told reporters he does not want any job from the government but only the best treatment for his wife.
Health secretary J. Radhakrishnan visited the district and spoke to the woman. He said if the woman wanted to be treated at a private hospital, she would be provided all help.