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Patient dies after being refused treatment

india Updated: Dec 16, 2006 02:36 IST

A 26-year-old man died of renal failure at Lok Nayak hospital after being reportedly refused treatment on suspicion that he was HIV positive.

He was admitted on November 29. Sources said that on Wednesday, his condition deteriorated and he suffered a renal failure. “He was referred for dialysis. But the doctors there turned him away because he was suspected to be HIV positive. He died within two hours,” said a senior doctor on condition of anonymity.

“His case sheet says that he was refused treatment because he was HIV positive,” said the doctor.

The dialysis in-charge Dr Rajeev Kohli, however, maintains that the patient was refused treatment as his investigations were not complete. “Resident doctors had informed me about such a patient. We could not give him dialysis because his investigations were not complete. I was not on duty on that day so I will have to check who is responsible,” said Dr Kohli, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) LNJP.  “This is a shocking case but we have our constraints,” said a senior doctor.  “Most government hospitals, including LNJP, do not have dedicated machines to treat HIV patients. To treat the patient properly, the hospital staff requires consumables to protect themselves. Whenever we do dialysis, it is at our own risk,” he said.

LNJP’s Medical Superintendent Dr Vinod Ramteke, however, said that this was a rare incident and turning away a patient because he was HIV positive was against the hospital’s policy. “If the patient has been refused treatment on this ground it is certainly wrong. The patient rush is so much that we cannot spare the machines. I will look into the matter,” said Dr Ramteke. 

According to the case sheet, the patient was admitted with fever and was tested positive for HIV. The second and third tests were negative. The final test at AIIMS was inconclusive.

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