Hospital blood transfusion suspected as man

February 22nd, 2008 - 7:59 pm ICT by admin  

contracts HIV
By Sujoy Dhar
Kolkata, Feb 22 (IANS) A 65-year-old man in West Bengal is battling AIDS after allegedly contracting HIV from blood transfusion at one of the city’s top hospitals. Apollo Gleneagles Hospital is no shabby government hospital, but Ajoy Mukherjee of Barasat near here said he contracted the virus from there during blood transfusion while undergoing a bypass surgery in May 2006.

“I got the virus from there around May 2006. I want justice and punishment for the hospital authorities. I am 65 but it could have happened to a person who is 32,” Mukherjee, who lives in Barasat in North 24 Parganas district adjoining Kolkata, said Friday from the bed of a nursing home where he is admitted now.

“During the operation we had gone to the hospital with our own donors but they refused to use their blood and instead insisted on blood from the hospital blood bank,” Sabyasachi Mukherjee, the victim’s son, told IANS.

“He was diagnosed with HIV in Vellore’s Christian Medical College hospital last month after we took him there since he started suffering from various ailments. We are devastated as we see him inching towards death like this,” the son said.

When contacted, an Apollo Gleneagles spokesperson said: “We have not got any formal complaint from any quarter so far. We will comment or issue a statement only if there is any complaint lodged formally.”

The victim’s son, however, said they were putting together all proof to take the hospital to the consumer court.

The Apollo spokesperson said the West Bengal State AIDS Control and Prevention Society (WBSACS) had also not contacted them yet.

Mukherjee’s family approached US-based India-born AIDS researcher Kunal Saha, who spearheads India’s largest patients’ rights body People for Better Treatment (PBT). Saha said that from available medical history it was clear that Mukherjee got HIV through blood transfusion during his bypass surgery.

“We are also shocked to hear from Mukherjee that the Apollo Gleneagles hospital had refused to use blood from known donors during his surgery,” Saha said from Ohio.

“Because Mukherjee is an elderly patient, probably with a weakened immune system, he became an AIDS patient rapidly within two years. Most younger patients with more robust immunity would probably stay healthier for a longer period after accidentally getting HIV like Mukherjee,” he said.

Countless people in the state are feared to have received HIV and Hepatitis contaminated blood since 2005, Saha alleged.

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