Russian toddler given HIV-infected blood by mistake

Moscow, April 19 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A 16-month-old girl in Russia’s St. Petersburg city was given an HIV-infected blood transfusion as a result of negligence of a hospital’s staff, prosecutors said Friday.

“Due to negligence on the part of the hospital’s staff and specialists from the city’s blood transfusion centre, and the shortcomings of a computer programme, the child was given blood from an HIV-positive donor,” a statement said.

The 16-month-old girl, named Daniella, was given a blood transfusion at the Children’s Hospital No.5 in March following an operation for peritonitis, a potentially life-threatening infection.

The girl was initially hospitalised in February and was sent home after five days, having been diagnosed with and treated for rotavirus.

The next day, however, the child was again hospitalised and an X-ray revealed that she had swallowed six magnetic parts from a toy.

After the operation for peritonitis, the child was in intensive care for a long time, “hanging between life and death”, prosecutors said.

The doctor carrying out the transfusion used a batch of blood that was still in quarantine while undergoing tests for HIV, without noticing that the blood had no written permission declaring it safe for use.

The blood came from a first-time donor, doctors said.

The child now faces lengthy anti-virus treatment.

In a preliminary test, the child tested negative for HIV, and another test will be carried out April 23 to confirm the result.

The risk of contracting the incurable virus through an HIV-infected blood transfusion is almost 100 percent, said Vadim Pokrovsky, director of the Federal AIDS Center.

“There have been some cases when there was no infection, but we suspect that those cases involved incorrect documentation and not infected blood,” he said.

Since 1987, when Russia introduced screening of donor blood for HIV, there have been some 50 cases of HIV infection from blood transfusions in the country, Pokrovsky said, adding that most cases are caused by human error.

–IANS/RIA Novosti


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