Twelve medical professionals including three doctors belonging to two hospitals in Alappuzha district in Kerala have been put on medical care including anti-retroviral drugs after they attended to a patient with HIV/AIDS, without any universal precaution.
On the night of December 29, a man who was severely injured in an accident was rushed to Alappuzha General Hospital, where a team of doctors and others attended him and tended to his wounds, without taking any universal precautions.
The man was later shifted to the Alappuzha medical college, where reportedly a syringe that was used on him accidentally pricked a doctor.
Concerned that medical professionals at both the hospitals are at the risk of infection through medical procedures and needle-stick injury, they have been placed under medical care.
Doctors confirm that in the rush to save the patient who was bleeding heavily, they did not verify the patient's status. Moreover, since there was a shortage in kits to test the patient's blood, the samples were sent to a laboratory outside. The results came in only after a few days.
"This is a medical situation can happen to anyone at anytime in emergency conditions. We cannot completely blame the hospital, but safety measures have to be taken. At least basic precautions should be available at any hospital. This initial treatment can prevent any further infection," Dr Shyam Sunder, Former Kerala Government Medical officers Association (KGMOA) president told TNM.
"There was no universal precaution taken by the hospital, they only used gloves while treating the person," Dr K Hariprasad, KGMOA representative told the media.
The risk of acquiring HIV from a needle-stick injury is less than 1%, and the risk of infection from exposure not involving a puncture or a cut (such as a splash of body fluid onto the skin or the mucous membrane) is less than 0.1%. The risk of HIV infection from a human bite is between 0.1% and 1%.