A 45-year-old woman was declared HIV+ by a private lab stationed at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, letting her roast in the agony of the disease until a second test, and a third test, at other labs found her to be HIV negative.
Bishmani Devi, a resident of Garu in Latehar, came to RIMS on December 3 to know why her fever was not abating. Her doctor told her to get a blood test done to check for infections, including HIV. She had two options for blood test — RIMS’s in-house microbiology lab and private Medall Diagnostic Healthcare Limited on RIMS camp.
To ease the pressure on pathological labs at RIMS and to provide services at district hospitals, the Jharkhand health department has outsourced services to Medall Diagnostic Healthcare Limited and SRS Diagnostic Limited. The two handle 12 district hospitals each and Medall was given space to operate at RIMS.
Devi took a blood test at Medall, which, on December 5 gave her the test result: HIV +.
“I was so scared after the report,” said Devi, who, the next day rushed to the microbiology laboratory at RIMS for a retest.
After a traumatising day, on December 6, RIMS declared her HIV negative. Devi didn’t know whom to trust, went for a third test to break the tie. “I didn’t trust them either and went to another private lab. That report also was negative,” she said.
Dr JK Mitra, the head of department medicine at RIMS, said this was the second case where Medall had got the diagnosis wrong. “I will write to the Jharkhand State Aids Control Society to take action against the lab,” he said.
Medall lab-in-charge Dr Darpo Duttagupta couldn’t be reached for a comment as he had switched off his cellphone.
RIMS Director Dr BL Sherwal said he would not comment on Medall as they were not in the purview of RIMS and operate independently.
“We have just provided them space. I rather suggest patients to get their tests done at our laboratories that handled HIV testing,” said Sherwal.