IGMH transfuses HIV positive blood to patient

Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) has transfused HIV positive blood to a patient due to a technical error in the laboratory, the hospital and Ministry of Health and Gender revealed last night.

According to the hospital, the incident took place on February 3, with discovery of the error not made until February 19. The failure to reveal the incident earlier was, according to IGMH, due to a delay in receiving an internal report on the case.

Conversely, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had accused the government of covering up the incident so as not to overshadow the government’s celebrations of its first 100 days in office.

At a joint press conference held last night, IGMH Deputy CEO Dr Mohamed Habeeb and Director General at the Ministry of Health and Gender Dr Sheeza Ali apologised for the incident.

Describing it as the “saddest incident in the eighteen year history of IGMH”, Dr Habeeb sad he was sharing the news with “grief and shame” and that he “apologised to the patient, the patient’s family, and all citizens of the Maldives”.

Reassuring that the services provided at the public hospital are safe, Dr Habeeb said the hospital has “state of the art” laboratory equipment and that the incident was caused by the “negligence of an individual”.

After investigating the case it was found that the lab technician was aware that the blood was infected even at the time it was taken, continued Habeeb, adding that the technician had subsequently reported the blood to be clean.

The technician in question has been suspended and the case reported to Maldives Police Service.  According to the hospital, no acts of negligence had been noticed from the technician in his previous seven years of employment.

Speaking at the press conference, Habeeb said the incident had brought some issues within the hospital to light. He assured that those issues would be addressed and all arrangements would be made to prevent any future incidents.

Just yesterday it was revealed that the hospital had been forced to suspend certain surgical procedures after it had been unable to procure the necessary safety equipment.

According to the ministry, immediate treatment has been started for the patient by the government as per WHO guidelines. As all information regarding HIV patients are held as confidential by the state – in accordance to WHO guidelines – no details of the patient or the donor were revealed.

However, local media outlet Haveeru has suggested that the patient is a Maldivian woman and also that she is pregnant.

Cover up and negligence

The MDP has promptly accused the government of a cover up, with a press release issued today accusing authorities of deliberately hiding the issue until the administration’s first hundred day celebrations were over.

“They deliberately kept the news from the public in order to show that those hundred days are not dark and terrifying days”.

The party has compared the cover-up to the murder of prisoner Evan Naseem in 2003, the fallout from which accelerate the country’s democratic reforms.

Condemning the incident, the MDP described it as as a reflection of the current status of health sector in the Maldives, accusing the government of neglecting the health affairs of the people and destroying public trust in the sector.

The party stated that blaming a single individual for the incident was a matter of concern and that the heads of the health sector had not taken responsibility. Despite repeated attempts, at the time of press Minivan News had been unable to get a response from senior figures in the Health Ministry or IGMH, including Minister of Health Dr Mariyam Shakeela.

MDP MP Mohamed ‘Shippe’ Shifaz – a member of the parliament’s government accountability committee – today said  that the Health Ministry would be summoned to the committee regarding the matter.

State minister for Fuwad Gasim said the ministry was trying  very hard to manage the situation and bring about necessary changes.

“Of course we are very much saddened and it shouldn’t happen..but unfortunately it has happened and we will take the necessary action regarding the people involved in it,” he said.

Fuwad also noted the importance of having medical negligence act, saying that – as there is no such law currently in force –  that  medical professionals should be careful.

A medical negligence bill was drafted by MP Rozaina Adam in 2011, though she today explained that the legislation is currently stalled in the Health Ministry.

“I sent it for their comments and it has been with the ministry since then. Another issue was, when it was discussed with medical professionals, they suggested that it should come with another bill related to administration and the health services bill. But that bill was drafted by the ministry,” Rozaina said.

With or without the comments of the ministry, stated Rozaina, the bill will now be sent to the parliament for discussion as soon it returns from recess.

Since the first case of HIV in 1991, 19 cases of HIV have been reported among Maldivians, while the estimations of HIV positive persons are as high as 70 – 100.

The Health Ministry has previously warned about a possible explosion of HIV/AIDS in the country, with high risk behaviour such as drug use and numerous sexual partners a concern.


19 thoughts on “IGMH transfuses HIV positive blood to patient”

  1. this is the only incident that's come to light; howmany more wud hav been cvrdup? we the poor pople hav alternative but IGMH so we r all at the hands of those butchers who hav no regard 4 human life...apoplogise, my foot, they wud not hesitate 2 cut off a man's head!

  2. yes blaming a single person will be irresponsible . However it need to be done a thorough investigation to assess how it happened .

    We also can not eliminate the possibilities of this accident as a politically motivated also.

    We have seen people being murdered for political reason and so does HIV infestation might too.

    One can not cut a fine line at finger pointing only to IGMH authorities and need to look beyond that specially the technician is a junior staff.

  3. With an incident like this,one cannot put the blame on one single individual. Right from the Ministry of Health to the Director of IGMH shou
    ld be held responsible. Why blame only the lab technician? It's not fair to just blame one individual for negligence. All the heads should roll.

  4. "The Health Ministry has previously warned about a possible explosion of HIV/AIDS in the country, with high risk behaviour such as drug use and numerous sexual partners a concern."

    Goes well with the MDP slogan "Bireh nethi majaa kurun"

  5. The government deserves scorn for proudly congratulating themselves for the most successful 100 days, when the most horrifying failure of the health system occurred on their watch.

  6. excuses, excuses, excuses, excuses, excuses
    excuses, excuses, excuses, excuses, excuses
    excuses, excuses, excuses, excuses, excuses
    excuses, excuses, excuses, excuses, excuses
    excuses, excuses, excuses, excuses, excuses
    excuses, excuses, excuses, excuses, excuses

    Its always other peoples fault.

    Where is L>E>A>D>E>R>S>H>P

  7. Why was an HIV+ person allowed to donate blood in the first place? Do they not check if donors are "healthy"? Why was it even stored? I'm starting to question if the hospital is even capable of detecting HIV in the first place. Why did the technician, who had a clean record for seven years "slip up"? Who is to blame for all of this? The management? The current government for not fixing it? The previous governments for not fixing it in their times? The technician? The patient for seeking medical attention at a facility that is clearly incapable of safely transfusing blood?

  8. Sorry...no matter how much some commentators try to pin this on MDP it will not stick! This tragedy happened during PPM's regime. And their only act of regret was to issue an "sorry" as if somebody had just accidentally bumped into another person.
    In fact, during MDP's government they had just rolled a programme at IGMH where British volunteers with high level experience at NHS were sent to the Maldives to try and improve it. But sadly before much impact could be made, the coup happened and they returned soon after because boa-fan Abdullo and some other PPM personnels would not let the programme go forward for political gains. Who got hurt? The people. Thanks for the 100 days of nothing PPM.

  9. send all foreign medical and para medical staff back to there counties.let maldivan drs and surgeons handle the IGMH and other HC's.

  10. So hiv is highly prevalent in maldives,better Maldives to treat efficiently hic individuals,and prevent them from donating blood in the first,besides does the anyone know the incidence/prevalence rates of his in Maldives

  11. The british health system is one of the useless system in the word and we should not even try that to implement here.

    Countries like Germany has perfect system and need to seek the assistance from there.

    Not MDP but Nasheed is very disappointed with the 100day achievement compared with what he was able to achieve in his first 100 days . Across all sectors things have improved much better than what Nasheed was able to do in his 100 days time period.

    This has made him very jealous about the current Government. This is a fact .

    Afraseem death happened after controversial challenge by Nasheed for not abiding the law and by saying that court can not give any order to him and he is above the law.

    His action of going ahead with his campaign despite court order was even questioned by most of foreign countries including EU .

    Nasheed is spoiled kid with filthy rich money inherited and he is dictator and very ruthless persona who will be willing to do for the sake of holding his position.

    Proper investigation must be done to understand why the technician had done this and am sure this will be associated with the politics.

  12. Must one make political capital out of a technician's mistake ?

    While my heart goes out to the family in distress and the tragic consequences for the lady, I think it is time we let the professionals work and cut out the static...I mean all the hysterical political rhetoric.

    Let Dr Habeeb, Dr Sheeza Ali and the Minister do their work.

  13. “Make it compulsory for a doctor using a brass plate to
    have inscribed on it, in addition to the letters indicating
    his qualification, the words ‘Remember that I too am
    – G. B. Shaw (1913)

    Let the rant and the raucous chant be...carry on non politicians

  14. @Hero Your comment shows just how silly your thinking is! You do not want British system here..yet you want another European country's system..what a laugh...I think it would be better if you first took care of the PPM/Jahalath groups that you seem to kow-tow to even consider getting ANY proper health care system in Maldives. Your gov can't even manage the current top tier of IGMH, let alone handle another foreign management!!! Wonder how you will convince the current gov buffoons to stop digging into State coffers to save some to pay for your superior German system hmm? LOL!

  15. How high is the Aids/HIV stats in Maldives. Who knows how many people got infected by that guy alone.

  16. All sensible people must avoid Maldivian hospitals and other medical facilities.

  17. @sumo.

    Nasheed brought british to run IGMH earlier . What did he do ? He did nothing except putting additional partitioning wall around the building. Nasheed was the President for this country for 3 years and why did not he do anything to improve health sector ?

    During Nasheed regime, the health system got failed completely and that was due to lack of leadership.

    He put his thugs in charge of Health sectors who had not even worked in a managerial capacity and yet they were asked to manage such a hight profile and such a vulnerable sector.

    This was the beginning of falling of our health system.

    I am not against with any country but the truth of the matter is British health system is a failed system and it is even today.

    The system that they have on the paper looks nice but when it comes to practicality , it is a dipterous system.

    You got to wait to see specialist for months and months and at times, the patient will die before being able to see the doctor.

    People gives birth on paramedical vehicle while they keep refusing accept the patient without getting confirmation from the doctor and doctor was unable to see the patient or give an appointment for months and months.

  18. @sumo. It is now evident that the incident was politically motivated.

    The technician had forged the report after doing the blood test. Blood test had shown positive for the HIV but the technician had written as negative on the report that he had issued.

    Technician left the country after issuing the report to India and then return after 3 days ?

    Does this alarm or ring any bell yet ?

    This is politically motivated issues ?

    Why would a foreign technician had issue a HIV positive result as Negative in the first place ? I am sure the guy must have taken huge money and issue the report to tarnish the health sector image .

  19. @Hero Oh please! The lies that you are spreading have been found out! That lab technician had been dismissed during Golhaa's regime in 2006 and yet the Health Ministry even at that time could not keep up with their employer records and he was kept on! When the British volunteers were brought in, the top management at IGMH who kow-towed to Golhaa and his ilk made sure that nothing in IGMH was reformed or updated! Who are you trying to fool here?? Dhogu hedhiyas thee dhen boduvaru! Besides, if you think that the current puppet government is so clever in managing the health industry, how the hell did he manage to still work at IGMH?? You are right, it is a political game played by PPM. Don't try and presume things which no one knows? Maybe PPM is trying to cut down the number of Maldivians who may seek your Husnuva Asandha (Can't even come up with an original plan!!) Good job you PPM idiots are doing with that!!! Please, go and tell your lies to some one else...no one believes your fairy tales and fantasy stories here...


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