As news of a pregnant woman in Tamil Nadu being infected with HIV positive blood following a transfusion sent shockwaves across the country, the man who donated the blood attempted to kill himself on Wednesday. Ramanathapuram police confirmed to TNM that the 19-year-old blood donor had attempted suicide on Wednesday.
A resident of Ramanathapuram district, he was rushed to the Government Hospital in Ramanathapuram. Speaking to TNM, the DSP said that the man’s condition was stable and that he was still being treated.
This incident comes close on the heels of a shocking case of lapse in screening process at a government hospital in Sattur, which left a nine-month pregnant woman infected with HIV. The woman had visited Sattur government hospital on December 3 for a checkup. She was diagnosed to be anemic following which blood was transfused to her in the hospital.
The discovery of HIV infection came after the man who had donated blood in November contacted the blood bank to inform them that he was HIV positive, a fact that he came to know after he had donated blood. The donor had tested his blood sample in another laboratory for a routine Visa process which informed him that he was HIV positive. He had immediately approached the blood bank who alerted the officials of the Health Department. The officials then traced his blood unit and found it to be transfused to a pregnant woman.
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Health Department has terminated three employees for the serious lapse in procedure. The state government has also formed an expert committee under the leadership of Dr Sindha, the Senior Blood Bank Officer, Madurai Government Rajaji Hospital, to probe into the matter.
On Wednesday, Principal Secretary (Health) Dr J Radhakrishnan visited the Sattur Government Hospital and carried out an inquiry with the officials, the victim and her family members. Speaking to the reporters after the meeting, J Radhakrishnan said that the incident was not justifiable by any measure. Adding that a separate committee has been formed to revisit the blood safety protocol in place, he requested people not to panic and emphasised that this was a rare instance of procedural lapse.
“We have made arrangements for the woman to receive exclusive treatment in Madurai Government Rajaji Hospital. We have assigned three doctors to specially oversee the assessment and treatment of the victim. If the family is not satisfied with the treatment in Madurai, the government is ready to arrange treatment in a private hospital also,” he said.
The Health Department has also ordered for re-screening of blood samples in all 14 blood banks across the state.
If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help.
State health department suicide helpline number - 104
Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050