Madurai: The Madurai bench of Madras High Court has issued notices to the state health and family welfare department to respond to petitions seeking the best possible treatment and also adequate compensation to the pregnant woman who was transfused HIV infected blood at the Sattur government hospital.
A division bench of Justices K K Sasidharan and P D Audikesavulu was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer M Abbas Mandhiri, also organiser for Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) seeking better treatment and higher compensation for the pregnant woman who contracted the dreaded virus after being given contaminated blood due to the negligence of the medical staff at the Sattur GH. The judges heard the PIL and issued notice to the state health and family welfare department to respond by January 22.
The PIL said though the State Blood Transfusion Council had announced it was a punishable offence to ask the relatives of those undergoing medical procedures in the hospital to donate blood as a replacement for the blood used on their relatives, such practice was still rampant. Petitioner Mandhiri was referring to the HIV infected 19-year-old who had donated his blood after his relative had undergone treatment in a hospital in Virudhunagar district. He said the medical disaster could have been averted if only the bank staff, who had known that the donor was HIV positive, had acted diligently. Hence the court should treat this case as one of criminal negligence, the petitioner said.
He also wanted the state government to come up with a ‘Safe Blood Policy’ and also step up its HIV-AIDS awareness programme across Tamil Nadu, besides higher allocation of funds to government hospitals to procure advanced equipment.
While the pregnant woman infected with HIV after being given the contaminated blood few weeks ago is now undergoing treatment at the Madurai Rajaji Hospital, the donor of the infected blood killed himself.
The state government had announced top-notch medical treatment for the woman and also pledged ART cover for the child-to-be-born. The hapless husband has been promised a job in the government. Visiting the Rajaji Hospital soon after the incident came to light, health secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan said a team of three specialists has been assigned to treat the woman and she could even get treated at a private hospital in case her family sought that.
Notwithstanding the government assurances and the steps being taken to render whatever help possible to the distraught woman in hospital, fears still persist whether the medical administration has ensured only safe blood would be in the transfusion network....