In a bizarre incident in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, an HIV-positive female reportedly underwent a Caesarean section in a government-run civil hospital without revealing her HIV-positive status. The incident came to light on November 9, whereas the patient underwent the surgery on November 4.
The treating gynecologist, Dr. Seema Soni, says that she was unaware of the patient’s status as she was not informed by the patient or her kin. “Neither the patient nor her husband had informed me about them being HIV-positive. Otherwise, why would I risk the lives of myself and my hospital staff? I am ready to answer anyone,” Dr. Soni added.
By and large, it’s a normal protocol for patients to undergo routine screening tests like HIV, HBsAg, and VDRL before undergoing any surgery. It looks baffling as to why there was a deviation in this case. “Due to a high influx of patients, mandatory HIV testing is not possible in any case “, hospital in charge Dr. Yogesh Singare said. He has also issued a show-cause notice. He further added that he had ordered the closure and full sanitization of the operation theater as soon as the incident came to light. Dr. Singare said that all those who might have been exposed either to the HIV-infected patient or to successive three-four operations that were carried out in the same OT after surgery had been injected with preventive injections.
There were four other hospital staff members who took part in the surgery. They are scared and worried for their families and themselves after this incident. Mr. Kakade, the head OT technician, added that it’s a nightmare for them to go through this, and they are worried about their spouses as well. He further added that they follow a strict protocol for surgeries on HIV-positive patients. They usually wear special glasses to protect their eyes. If the patient had revealed her status, they would have followed the protocol. He feels that this is a complete betrayal.
The incident has clearly created a panic amongst the hospital staff, who are now taking precautions for their families and themselves. This unfortunate incident follows a similar incident in Indore, where a doctor was suspended for allegedly assaulting an HIV-positive patient for not disclosing his HIV-positive status.
Such incidents again emphasize the importance of conducting serology tests as a strict protocol before undergoing the knife so that the lives of people are not endangered. There needs to be a change in the healthcare system so that such incidents are not repeated.
(Inputs from various sources)