Twenty-six-year-old Priya, a resident of Sultanpuri in northwest Delhi, died after being given B+ blood instead of 0+ in a transfusion before her delivery at Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Mongolpuri in the same part of the Capital on November 13.
The wife of daily wage earner Surinder, Priya (who used only her first name) was admitted to the hospital for a caesarean-section delivery on November 12.
She was prescribed transfusion because she was severely anaemic, with a haemoglobin count of 7 against the
normal range of 11.5-16.
Though the form issued with the blood bag mentioned she was O+, the blood given by the blood bank was B+.
“Her case-sheet and blood type mentioned in the blood bag should have been cross-checked, but they weren’t, as a result of which she was killed with her baby in the womb,” said a resident doctor at the hospital, who declined to be identified.
“Although she showed signs of reaction after the wrong blood was given, doctors still didn’t cross-check but continued the transfusion after giving her anti-allergy medicines,” he said.
The baby’s death was recorded as an “intra-uterine death” and delivery was induced using medication.
The doctors got to know of the mistake at 10am the next day, when the on-duty gynaecologist got a call from the blood bank acknowledging that an incorrect blood type was issued.
But instead of rushing her to the ICU, the doctors tried to treat Priya in the labour room. “When she died at 1pm, the anaesthetist was called and Priya was taken to the ICU where she was officially declared dead around 4pm.”
The family was handed over the body of the mother and child without detailed medical records or cause of death. “We are in shock already and this information shocks us further. We were told she died during delivery and we didn’t inquire any further,” said Surinder.
Dr P Mahajan, head of the hospital’s gynaecology department said, “No such matter has been reported to me. I am completely unaware of such a death in my department.” Medical superintendent Dr RA Gautam also denied any knowledge of the matter.
The sequence of events was confirmed to HT by at least three senior consultants from the gynaecology, blood bank and ICU departments of the hospital.
While the family has been kept in the dark about the entire episode, only a junior resident in gynaecology, Dr Rizwana, was asked to resign.
“It is a routine practice to match the blood requirement and blood given for night operations the next morning. When I came in at 10am the next day, we discovered the mistake and informed the gynaecology department,” said Dr BK Sinha, head of the blood bank, who later issued a memo to the technician Balraj who had issued the wrong blood type.
“The responsibility cannot be pinned on two junior staffers. The hospital should take punitive action against the entire team working on the patient,” said a doctor at the hospital.
“We have asked the medical superintendent for a detailed report about the death, following which we will constitute a team to look into the matter,” said Delhi health minister Dr AK Walia.