Cancer patient who 'tested' HIV+ after blood transfusion dies

A nine-year-old leukaemia patient who was suspected to have contracted HIV during blood transfusion died at a Medical College Hospital (MCH) in Vandanam, in Alappuzha district, on Wednesday.

The deceased, a girl from Haripad in Alappuzha, was undergoing treatment for leukaemia for over a year. Sources in the hospital confirmed she died of leukaemia.

She was admitted in the MCH early on Wednesday as she was suffering from pneumonia. "She died of complications arising from blood cancer," Dr R V Ramlal, medical superintendent of the MCH, told DH.

In September 2017, police in Thiruvananthapuram commenced an investigation on a complaint by the girl's family that she tested positive for HIV after she underwent blood transfusion at the state-run Regional Cancer Centre (RCC).

Referred from the Alappuzha Medical College, she was brought to RCC on March 1, 2017, and was tested HIV-positive on August 25, during routine blood tests.

The result of a follow-up test conducted in the wake of the allegations, in Delhi, is awaited.

The girl tested HIV-negative during an examination at the RCC on March 1. Health Minister K K Shailaja said a detailed examination was called for after subsequent tests showed "different" results.

Her father claimed that the RCC was evasive in its response to the allegations.

A government-appointed team of experts in antiretroviral therapy, pathology and blood banks which investigated the case dismissed possibilities of human error in the incident.

The Kerala State AIDS Control Society, which conducted a probe into the allegations, also said the RCC had complied with all the stipulated safety standards for the blood transfusion.

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