19-year-old HIV+ donor dies in TN

A 19-year-old youth, who attempted suicide last week after it came to light that his HIV-positive blood was transfused into a pregnant woman in Virudhunagar district in Tamil Nadu, passed away on Sunday morning.

The youth from Kamudhi in Ramanathapuram district, who was working in a fireworks’ factory in Sivakasi, had consumed poison on December 26 and was shifted to the Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai for intensive care treatment.

Though his condition was said to be stable till Saturday, hospital sources said his body developed complications and he breathed his last around 8 am. “He vomited blood on Sunday morning and we gave him fresh blood. But he failed to respond to the treatment,” a doctor said.
Incidentally, the woman who contracted HIV after the blood donated by the said youth was transfused into her is also receiving specialised treatment in the same hospital.

The incident of transfusion of blood containing HIV virus to the woman hailing from a village near Sattur in Virudhunagar district came to light on December 25 after the woman’s family made it public.

The pregnant woman was given a blood transfusion early December, but the doctors called her back to the hospital following a call from the youth, who found out that he was infected with HIV after a random test conducted for his job enquiry revealed the presence of the virus.

The youth had donated blood during a donation camp conducted at the Sivakasi Government Hospital in November. Since the blood was marked safe by technicians at the lab, it was sent to the hospital in Sattur when the need arose. He had been infected with HIV since 2016 — his blood contained the virus during screening after he donated blood that year, but it was never conveyed to him.  

Getting into damage control mode, the government had suspended three technicians for dereliction of duty and ordered an inquiry. The government is in a spot after a second woman from Chennai claimed she also contracted HIV following blood transfusion at the Government Kilapuk Medical College Hospital in Chennai. However, the hospital has denied this.

Meanwhile, the authorities completed retesting of all samples collected in four blood banks in Virudhunagar district. A senior official with the Health Department said all samples tested negative for HIV and HCV.

“This retesting was ordered in four blood banks in the district and there was no problem found,” he said.

Separately, district authorities are conducting routine checks to ensure such incidents don’t recur.

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19-year-old HIV+ donor dies in TN

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