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The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has ordered videography of the autopsy of a 19-year-old man, who committed suicide last week after unknowingly donating HIV-infected blood which was later transfused to a pregnant woman.

Justice B Pugalendi gave the direction to the Dean of Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) on Monday on a petition filed by the man’s mother. He also ordered that the autopsy be conducted at the GRH in the presence of two assistant professors from medical colleges of neighbouring districts, PTI newsagency reported.

When he donated the blood on November 30,  the man, now deceased did not know that he was HIV positive. He came to know about that only when he went to get series of medical tests done that were a prerequisite for a job that he was applying for in a foreign country. He then informed the blood bank at Sivakasi not to use his blood on any patuent but by then it had already been transfused to a pregnant woman by the first week of December. The mother told the court that when the matter came up for hearing, a  few TV channels started flashing her son’s(the blood donor’s)  picture, which upset him. Saddened by the entire incident, he consumed poison on December 26, she said.

After taking treatment for three days at the GRH, his condition was normal. But on December 30, he complained of pain in his private parts and was attended to by doctors. He was declared dead two hours later, she said.Alleging that the hospital authorities failed to inform the district collector about her son’s demise, the petitioner raised doubt over the treatment given to him and prayed for a direction to the authorities concerned to videograph the autopsy.

 

—India Legal Bureau

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1 COMMENT

  1. This is a case of “paraquat toxicity” .The victims dying declaration will incarnate that there was no foul play. No doubt there is a formulation of “categorical imperative” to comply with the law of humanity. Whether it is a case of accident, suicide or homicide the Hippocratic oath mandates the doctors not to adopt a radically differential treatment to a person who has attempted to commit suicide. Therefore the treatment for all cases of suicide or homicide, should be on the same footing. Doctor are not insurers and one should not expect predictive positive results. The legal doctrine “res ipsa loquiter – The fact speaks for itself.It is hard to balance a chronic HIV patients against the toxicity by antiretroviral regimen and rat poison has arsenic compounds which impacts the respiratory, sensory and motor poly-neuritis that leads to paralysis, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis and necrosis. There is no universal approved procedure for treating a person who is in the jaws of death. Only empirical treatment (derived from experiment and observation rather than theory) is to be adopted. At times doctors have to breach the ethical practice of medicine to save human life’s. If a physicians choice of treatment is challenged in a court of law,they are deprived from exercising their line of treatment freely and they will be forced to take a decision not to risk their professional career and put the human life at stake. Should the life of citizens be put to peril for breaking the ethical practice in order to save a life? Is there a medical bias in a standardized test? Can law define the most accurate measures that could be adopted in life saving ?

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