Children's hospital ordered to pay for transfusing HIV+ blood

Holding Kalawati Saran Children Hospital (KSCH) and its doctor Ajay Kumar guilty of transfusing HIV infected blood to a child 14 years ago in his infancy, the Delhi Consumer Commission has ordered to pay Rs 10 lakh as damages to his parents.

A bench of VK Gupta and Salma Noor held doctor Ajay Kumar and the hospital affiliated to Lady Hardinge Medical College guilty of committing "sheer medical negligence" 14 years ago in giving the HIV-infected blood to the then three-day-old child.

"It was the duty of opposite party 3 (Dr Kumar) and 2 (hospital) to examine the blood to come to a certainty that it does not contain any HIV infection. The transfusion of the blood to the patient is not in dispute," the Bench said. "Obviously, there is a sheer medical negligence on the part of the opposite parties 2 and 3 in not examining and ensuring that the blood does not contain any HIV infection," the commission added.

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"It is a matter of common observation that it is a very serious disease and a person having this ailment cannot survive long. We hereby direct opposite parties 2 and 3 to pay Rs 10 lakh as compensation for mental agony and harassment to the complainants (parents), inclusive of litigation charges," the bench added.

The child had the ailment of diaphragmatic hernia and his operation was conducted at the KSCH on June 12, 1998 when he was three-day-old. During the procedure 150 ml of blood was transfused to him. The blood had been procured from the blood bank of Sucheta Kripalani Hospital, which too is affiliated to Lady Hardinge Medical College. In their complaint, the child's parents had said that their son was never free of ailments subsequent to his treatment. He was diagnosed with HIV in January 2006 at Safdarjung Hospital.

In its defence, the hospital had contended that the blood was procured from the blood bank of the medical college which would have conducted necessary screening and testing of the blood. The hospital had added that because only HIV negative blood had been transfused into the infant, there was no question of negligence and carelessness on its part.

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