MOSCOW, April 19 (RIA Novosti) – An incident in which a toddler was given an HIV-infected blood transfusion was the result of negligence on the part of a St. Petersburg hospital’s staff, prosecutors said when announcing the preliminary results of their investigation on Friday.
“Due to negligence on the part of the hospital’s staff and specialists from the city's blood transfusion center, and the shortcomings of a computer program, the child was given blood from an HIV-positive donor,” the statement said.
The 16-month-old girl, named Daniella, was given a blood transfusion at Children's Hospital No. 5 in late March following an operation for peritonitis, a potentially life-threatening infection.
The girl was initially hospitalized in late February and was sent home after five days, having been diagnosed with and treated for rotavirus. The next day, however, the child was again hospitalized and an X-ray revealed that she had swallowed six magnetic parts from a toy.
After the operation for peritonitis, the child was in intensive care for a long time, “hanging between life and death,” prosecutors said.
The doctor carrying out the transfusion used a batch of blood that was still in quarantine while undergoing tests for HIV, without noticing that the blood had no written permission declaring it safe for use.
The blood came from a first-time donor, doctors said.
The child now faces lengthy anti-virus treatment. In a preliminary test, the child tested negative for HIV, and another test will be carried out on April 23 to confirm the result.
The risk of contracting the incurable virus through an HIV-infected blood transfusion is almost 100 percent, said Vadim Pokrovsky, director of Russia’s Federal AIDS Center. “There have been some cases when there was no infection, but we suspect that those cases involved incorrect documentation and not infected blood,” he said.
Since 1987, when Russia introduced screening of donor blood for HIV, there have been some 50 cases of HIV infection from blood transfusions in the country, Pokrovsky said, adding that most cases are caused by human error.
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The British experience can be instructive for Russia. London retains its British Commonwealth if it wants to use this as a foundation for integration in the future. That’s a valuable lesson for Russian experts who are calling for an end to “ineffective” associations like the CIS, the Russian World and others.