The Madras High Court Thursday took suo motu cognisance of an incident in which a pregnant woman in Virudhunagar district contracted HIV after transfusion of contaminated blood and directed the state government to file an action taken and status report by January 3. When the vacation bench comprising Justice S Vaidyanathan and Justice PT Asha commenced proceedings, two advocates made a mention of the case.
The advocates — George Williams and Krishnamoorthy — moved an urgent motion about the blood transfusion and sought the court to take suo motu cognisance of the issue. Williams submitted he would like to bring the matter to the notice of the court and was not willing to file any petition.
The Bench then said it would like to take suo motu cognisance and issued notice to the health secretary seeking a status report on the incident and action taken against the errant officials by January 3.
On December 3, the woman visited the Sattur government hospital for antenatal checks where she was advised blood transfusion as she was anaemic. Four days after the procedure, it came to light that the blood transfused was HIV positive and was negligently labelled safe by the hospital’s lab technicians.
Originally, the blood was donated by a teenager which was meant to be transfused to his relative. But, since it was not used, it was stored in the blood bank. Immediately after the issue was brought to the notice of the authorities, three health workers of the blood bank at the government hospital in Sivakasi were placed under suspension for labelling the HIV positive blood as safe.
On further inquiry, it was found the hospital authorities had found that the donor was affected by HIV as early as 2016 when he donated blood at a camp in Sattur. But as the teenager was out of town when a counsellor phoned him to inform, he was asked to report to the hospital as early as possible. On December 27, the donor had attempted suicide by consuming rat poison as his family struggled to deal with the issue.