Ministry to probe wrong HIV diagnosis in past 17 years

The Ministry of Public Health has appointed a fact-finding committee to prove into the wrong diagnosis of a child that she had HIV virus which as a consequence put her to live a miserable life for 17 years.

The committee was told to finish the probe in one month, so that the victim, Ms Sutthida Saengsumat, now married and has her own child, could be rehabilitated and remedied for the misery she had to endure since childhood.

Public Health Minister Piyasakon Sakonsatthayathorn said the ministry needed to set up the fact-finding committee to probe and find out how it happened and how to prevent such an error.

The probe will refer to the medical record of the victim, question witnesses and check the blood test process whether it was repeated for confirmation or not during the diagnosis.

The investigation will also find out if the error was related to malfunctioned medical devices or human error such as negligence of medical staffs.

According to an initial investigation, Sutthida is Roi-et native but in her medical record, she was reistered from the northern province of Lampang.

Meanwhile the minister also assigned a team to negotiate proper compensation for her.

Sutthida, 23, is now invited to be a presenter in the ministry's campaign to stop discrimination against HIV patients.

At the same time, Thai Red Cross's AIDS Research Centre director Pro Dr Praphan Phanuphak said medical staff will be questioned whether they did their duties properly or not.

However she said she was not sure if all evidence is still intact and complete because this happened several years ago and the information could be missing or was not stored.

She was uncertain about the storing process of information.

Sutthida Saengsumat said she was very happy that all bad dreams that had haunted her after being falsely diagnosed as HIV positive.

She recalled her miserable life and how she was discriminated by the society since she was a child.

Now all suffering has now gone when people now know she was tested negative to HIV, she said and remarked it was unbelievable.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)