Twice, tests in Lucknow govt hospital declare kidney patient HIV+ by mistake
Two botched test results at a top government hospital that declared a woman as an HIV-positive patient sent her into a trauma for a year until a third test at a private lab ruled otherwise.
Rama Devi, 55, a resident of Sarojini Nagar, visited Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS) in Lucknow for kidney treatment last year. Her tests, conducted at the hospital’s renal lab, declared her HIV-positive on November 3, 2015 with a reading of 4.59 reactive.
A second test on May 17, 2016 at the same facility showed a reading of 2.72 reactive that forced the traumatised woman to withdraw into a shell.
Her family members, who were equally shell-shocked, decided to go for another test at a private lab where she tested negative.
Rama Devi’s family again approached the renal department of SGPGI and complained about the erroneous reports by its lab. Another sample was taken and this time it was sent to the department of microbiology, which on November 22 confirmed the findings of the private lab.
Hindustan Times is in possession of all the lab reports. The news came as a big relief to the patient and her family but the damage had already been done.
“The renal lab medical reports left her crestfallen. She used to cry all the time and had lost all hopes of leading a normal life. We all suffered with her,” said a family member.
“Given the social stigma attached with HIV, her friends and relatives distanced themselves from her for the fear of contracting infection. Instead of getting treatment for kidney failure, she kept thinking about HIV infection, wondering where she got the infection from,” the family member added.
The family is still not sure how to deal with the situation. “We are poor people. We can’t sue them. If we lodge a complaint, they will not treat the patient,” he said.
The woman is now awaiting a kidney transplant at the hospital. Given the family’s economic background, it doesn’t have the option of moving her to a private facility for the procedure where the comparative cost is higher.
But SGPGIMS chief medical superintendent of Prof PK Singh sought to reassure the woman’s family.
“This is a serious matter. If a complaint is lodged in this connection, we will surely investigate the matter,” he told HT.
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