Three days after the parents of a 2-year old alleged that she had tested positive for HIV at the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) in Kovai, after undergoing blood transfusion there, the government has now stepped in and ruled out any error in the transfusion done at the hospital.
Addressing media persons, TN Health Minister Vijayabhaskar confirmed that the donor who gave blood to the baby tested negative for HIV.
“We have properly checked Donor blood. It is completely negative. It has been made sure that the HIV infection did not happen due to blood transfusion. We have screened the donor also after the allegations came out. He is still HIV negative. Since they have taken the baby to many other hospitals, if they cooperate and are willing, we will help them ascertain the source of the infection,” Vijayabhaskar said.
Further, Senthilraj, project director of the Tamil Nadu State Aids Control Society (TANSACS), told TNM that the blood issued to the baby was screened and tested safe for transfusion.
“The blood bank medical officers have gone back and checked the screening register. The blood issued to the baby was screened for HIV using 3rd generation ELISA kits which is the most sensitive kit being supplied to us by NACO (National Aids Control Organisation). Those readings are not manually written. It’s a ELISA reader computer generated readings in a paper based on which the blood is branded safe and free from HIV. So the baby hasn’t got HIV because of blood transfusion,” he said.
The government officials are now urging the parents, who have given a police complaint against the hospital, to bring the medical records of the baby to find out how she contracted HIV.
The parents of the child are daily wage workers living in Coimbatore. On February 6, the baby and her twin brother were born in a Tiruchy hospital. As she was underweight, the baby was being given continuous treatment. She was later admitted to the Tiruppur government hospital where doctors diagnosed her with heart anomalies and referred her to CMCH.
On July 12, 2018, the CMCH allegedly transfused infected blood to the baby, who was later discharged on July 13.
“The day when the blood was transfused to my baby, within minutes of starting the transfusion, another doctor came and stopped it. When we asked why he interrupted the transfusion, he said that the blood belonged to a very old person and hence he was stopping the transfusion,” Vijay told TNM.
On February 6, this year, the couple consulted CMCH after they noticed tiny swellings on the baby’s body. Upon examination, the doctors informed them that the baby was HIV positive. Following this, the doctors tested the parents and the other twin and found out that all three of them were HIV-negative.
Countering the parents allegations, dean of CMCH Dr Asokan denied that the child could have been infected during treatment at CMCH.
“The baby was admitted last July and she was treated with packed cells. 50 ml was transfused and we have seen all the records. The packed cell which was transfused was negative for HIV, Malaria, Syphilis and Hepatitis C and B. So it is not true stating that transfusion caused HIV. We are sure that packed cells, which are Red Blood Corpuscles, will not transmit HIV virus,” he said.
The dean also stated that the baby was underweight and had spent six weeks at the Sick Neonatal Care Unit (SNCU) in Tiruchy and had undergone treatment at various other hospitals, where she could have contracted the infection, before being brought to CMCH.