Hospital in Roi-et under probe for mistaken HIV blood tests

The Ministry of Public Health has ordered the setting up of a committee to investigate the hospital in Roi-et province which wrongly diagnosed a young girl of being positive for HIV 17 years ago and, hence, rendered her lost opportunities for many years.

The ministry is also considering appropriate compensation for the victim, Ms Suthida Saengsumart, who is now a grownup woman.

The probe committee is headed by Professor Dr Praphan Panupark, director of the AIDS Research Centre of the Thai Red Cross Society.

Dr Praphan said the probe team will look into the blood test regime of the Roi-et provincial hospital 17 years ago whether it meets the standard and also to find out if a second blood test was conducted for Ms Suthida if the first test showed positive result.

He disclosed that blood tests for HIV in the past 18 years were 98 percent accurate but, the standard practice today requires at least three blood tests for confirmation if the first test showed positive result.

Dr Praphan said that he would like Ms Suthida to serve as a presentor for the Thai Red Cross Society's anti-AIDS campaign.

Ms Suthida said she felt as if she was born again after the latest blood test on June 1 which cleared her of HIV infection.

Suthida's lawyer, Songkarn Atchariyasap, said he would like members of the society not to discriminate against people infected with HIV.

As for compensation for the mistaken blood diagnosis, he said that her client had no intention to demand huge compensation for her lost opportunities and wasted years.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)