Criminal case against transfusion of HIV-infected blood, says Gogoi

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has directed that a criminal case be registered on the incident of transfusion of HIV-infected blood to four patients at Darrang Civil Hospital.

A high level medical team from the Gauhati Medical College Hospital along with Drugs Control and AIDS Control officials are in the hospital today to investigate the incident.

"I have asked the authorities to register a criminal case in this incident. The incident is very unfortunate and we have taken it very very seriously", Gogoi told reporters here.

"I have ordered a complete inspection of all the government and private blood banks in the state", the chief minister said.

"I would not like to blame the Health Ministry, but only a few officers may be responsible. I have ordered an inquiry into the incident and we will take action", he said.

"We have to compensate the victims. They are our people and it is the government's responsibility to take care of them," Gogoi added.

The exact number of victims infected by the tainted blood was not yet known as the doctors were examining the patients.

An official statement yesterday had said four patients had been infected and Gogoi has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Unofficial sources, however, put the number at ten.

Meanwhile, the high level team, including the head of the departments of Pathology and Haematology from the GMCH, were probing the incident.

Meanwhile, agitated locals blocked NH 52 disrupting traffic for several hours in protest against the incident.

The hospital authorities told the team that the alleged victims were old cases of AIDS infection and that they always conduct mandatory tests on donated blood for HIV virus before transfusion.

The locals claimed that a person enlisted as a voluntary blood donor and HIV positive was donating blood at the blood bank of the Civil Hospital.

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