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Nine-year-old leukemia patient who 'contracted' HIV after blood transfusion dies in Kerala

The father of the leukemia patient, who died on Wednesday, said, “She was taken to the Alappuzha MCH on February 27, 2017 with fever.

Published: 12th April 2018 02:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th April 2018 02:45 AM   |  A+A-

Image for representational purpose only.

By Express News Service

ALAPPUZHA: A nine-year-old leukemia patient from Haripad, who allegedly contracted HIV during  blood transfusion at the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) Thiruvananthapuram, died at the Alappuzha Medical College Hospital (MCH) on Wednesday.

“She was admitted to the hospital in critical condition on Wednesday and died in a few hours,” said Dr Sreelatha of Alappuzha MCH.

Advocate Syam J Sam said the RCC authorities and government failed to do justice to the patient.
“A case against the RCC is under Kerala High Court’s consideration. The government didn’t give any support to the child’s family. The RCC authorities were not ready to submit a proper report on the incident at the court either,” said Syam.

The father of the leukemia patient, who died on Wednesday, said, “She was taken to the Alappuzha MCH on February 27, 2017 with fever. In the examination of her blood samples, it was found that she had leukaemia. Next day, she was taken to the RCC for its treatment, which started on March 1. Blood transfusion was done many times as part of it.

Following that, she was tested positive for HIV in August. After two months, she was taken to the General Hospital in Chennai  for a detailed  test. However, the lab report said she was not an HIV positive patient,” he said.

The doctors at the RCC said it was not a final report and they could confirm the presence of HIV only after getting a report from the National AIDS Control Organisation, Delhi.

But the doctors have not given that report yet. She was discharged from the RCC last November and underwent Ayurvedic treatment before getting admitted to the MCH.

The child’s funeral will be held on Thursday. The police had registered a case based on the parents’ complaints.

The Kerala State AIDS Control Society gave a clean chit to the RCC and its report said the blood given during transfusion was tested before the procedure and HIV was not detected. The HC will consider the case on Thursday.

Spotlight on clean chit given by govt panel

T’Puram: With the parents of the child who died at Alappuzha MCH remaining adamant about their allegations regarding the blood transfusion at Regional Cancer Center, Thiruvananthapuram, the focus has shifted to the clean chit provided by a high-level panel appointed by the government.

It was last September that the team under Joint DME Sreekumari had given a clean chit in connection with the allegations that the child, suffering from leukaemia, was given HIV-infected blood. Earlier, the Kerala AIDS Control Society and an internal probe held by the RCC had come out with the finding there was no technical fault on the part of the RCC in the alleged incident.

While mentioning about the possibility that the virus might have been transmitted through the blood which was transfused during the window period, the reports had also highlighted the absence of a mechanism at RCC to detect the virus during the window period.  Health Secretary Rajeev Sadana-ndan had said in the submitted reports there is no adverse remarks or findings against the RCC and adds that the centre’s blood bank had followed all protocol and procedures specified for blood transfusion. RCC director Paul Sebastian said the centre has begun the process of setting up a Nucleic Acid Test facility that could detect HIV infection during the window period at blood banks.

“We have now begun the process to adopt the technology here. Tender proceedings in this regard are already on. Once such a facility is installed here we could reduce the window period from one month to two weeks or 10 days,” said Sebastian.

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