HIV-infected blood’ triggers an outrage

An allegation that HIV-infected blood was being transfused into patients, including kids, created a furore in Anupgarh in Rajasthan’s Ganganagar district on Saturday.

India Today

An allegation that HIV-infected blood was being transfused into patients, including kids, created a furore in Anupgarh in Rajasthan’s Ganganagar district on Saturday.

Investigations, however, revealed that a local pathology lab, Goyal Laboratory, was engaged in the business of blood collection without a proper licence.

A police complaint was lodged following an investigation by a state health department team, headed by Anupgarh chief medical and health officer (CMHO) B.S. Sandhu.

“The laboratory owner, Hetram Goyal, was arrested under sections 420 and 269 of the IPC on Saturday,” said district SP Umesh Chandra Dutta. Goyal has been remanded in police custody.

Shyam Nursing Home, which transfused the blood supplied by the lab, is also under the scanner. Its owner Dr Bharat Bhushan is absconding.

Dutta says the FIR lodged by the CMHO did not mention HIV infected blood transfusion by the nursing home.

Sandhu, on his part, says a private citizen had lodged a complaint with the sub- divisional magistrate (SDM) on August 25 that illegal blood transfusion was going on at Shyam Nursing Home with the help of the Goyal lab.

It was also alleged that a local teacher, Satnam Singh, who had tested positive for HIV two months ago, had regularly donated blood at the laboratory.

“As such, HIV-infected blood was being transfused at the laboratory,” the complainant had said.

On the SDM’s directive, Sandhu conducted a raid on the nursing home and the lab and found that the laboratory did not have a licence to receive blood donation.

However, though Goyal Laboratory is alleged to be operating without a licence, it seems the blood available there was not HIV-infected.

On the basis of records seized in the raid, the team located two children – a nine-year-old girl Saddo and Amanpreet, a 10- year-old boy – who had undergone a blood transfusion in May. According to Sandhu, both tested negative for HIV. “Satnam Singh, too, filed an affidavit saying he had never donated blood at the Goyal Laboratory,” he said.

Anupgarh SHO Narendra Punia, who is probing the case, said he did not come across HIV infected blood at the lab during his investigation, neither was such an allegation made to him.

Dutta claimed that the district collector had revealed the probe team’s findings to local mediapersons on Saturday to do away with the impression that HIV-infected blood was being transfused at the lab and nursing home. Despite that, a section of the media highlighted the allegations instead of the findings, he said.

According to Dutta, some residents, including representatives of trade organisations, asked the district authorities on Saturday not to shut down the lab, which was their only source of blood. But the authorities insisted that an unlicensed blood collection centre could not be allowed to function.

In another case, the investigation in the blood adulteration racket busted in Lucknow a week ago seems to have hit a dead end.

The police had arrested seven persons, including three sons of a former lab technician in Lucknow’s Chhatrapati Sahuji Maharaj Medical University, from an unauthorised blood bank being run from a rented room in the city’s Thakurganj locality.

The criminals had not only mixed water and saline solution in the blood to increase its quantity, but had also used ordinary colour to make it look red. At least 10 out of 81 bags of blood recovered from the criminals were found infected with bacterial hepatitis (B and C).

The Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences has submitted its report to the state’s food and drug administration department and suggested that the samples be sent for further tests to a more advanced lab.

An officer at the UP health department said the absence of a prompt monitoring system for private hospitals and blood banks was an obstacle in finding out the number of people who had died or got infected from hepatitis because of the infected blood.

“We have conducted raids at Umrai Hospital, Kohli Blood Bank, Charak Pathology and Indira Diagnostic Centre in the last one week and found their links with the racket. Some doctors of Balrapur Hospital and Dufferin Hospital are also under the scanner,” the official said.

Director-general of health Dr R.R. Bharati said, “The report of the adulterated blood would be used against the culprits in court. We are conducting raids in private hospitals and blood banks.”

Inputs from Piyush Srivastava in Lucknow

Courtesy: Mail Today

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