A 30-year-old Chennai resident who has alleged that she contracted the HIV virus after a blood tranfusion at the Kilpauk Medical College (KMC) this year, has approached the Commissioner of Police, demanding action against doctors and staff who treated her. She has approached the police after KMC denied any wrongdoing on its part and stated that she did not contract the virus due to the transfusion.
Lalitha*, who has a five-year-old son, was initially getting treatment at a primary health care centre in Mangadu during her second pregnancy. Four months into her pregnancy in March, she did a blood test at the Sri Muthukumaran Medical College Hospital & Research Institute. The results said that she was HIV non-reactive or negative but her heamoglobin count was found to be very low. Following this she was taken to KMC on May 5 and given two units of blood. She was discharged 10 days later after the doctors saw improvement in her platelet count. But on August 18, when Lalitha and her husband Kumaran* went back to KMC for a checkup, doctors conducted another blood test on both of them. While Kumaran’s tests said he was HIV negative, Lalitha tested positive for the virus.
In her complaint letter, Lalitha says, "We fought with the hospital staff and said that they have completely ruined our lives. But they said you are infected now and need to get treatment. We request you to take action against the Dean, the doctors and other staff." She further stated that she did not see how she can take on the hospital given her family's limited means.
Both Kumaran and his wife are vegetable sellers. The child, a boy, was then born in September in KMC and has so far, tested negative for the virus. In November, Lalitha then wrote to Health Minister Vijayabhaskar, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan and to the Dean of KMC alleging medical negligence.
But Dean P Vasanthamani who spoke to TNM, denied the allegations.
"As soon we got the complaint, a committee was formed and an inquiry conducted into the matter. The blood that we received was labelled negative, we even tested the donor again and know that he doesn't carry the virus," she says. "It could not have come from an infected syringe because we used disposable ones," she adds.