Saudi girl given HIV-tainted blood free from virus - report

Thirteen-year old was initially diagnosed as infected with virus following botched blood transfusion
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Daniel Shane
Thu 04 Apr 2013 11:38 AM

A 13-year old Saudi Arabian girl who was mistakenly
administered an HIV-tainted blood transfusion has not contracted the virus, it
was reported.

Reham Al-Hakami, who was given the blood at Jazan General
Hospital, was originally diagnosed as being HIV positive following the botched
procedure in January.

However, according to Al Watan newspaper, further screenings
by laboratories in the US and Canada confirmed that there was no evidence that Al-
Hakami was infected with the virus which causes AIDS, a fatal condition.

Al-Hakami, who suffers from sickle cell anaemia, is
currently being treated at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh.

Since the case came to light, seven ministry officials at
the hospital including the director general, have been fired, with others
stripped of their licenses and handed fines.

Al-Hakami’s lawyer told
English language Saudi Gazette that he was also seeking overseas treatment for
his client as part of any payout from the ministry. He said he was seeking SAR50m (US$13m) in compensation from the Ministry of Health.

“This is not a big amount given what happened to Reham,” he
said.

Follwoing the incident at Jazan, all blood donations to the
city’s general hospital were temporarily ceased until improved screening
measures have been introduced.

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