'Infected with HIV': Heart surgery man sues hospital, blood service

2009-09-15 00:00

A CIVIL lawsuit being brought against the SA National Blood Service and St Augustines hospital by a Glencoe man who claims he contracted HIV through a blood transfusion will go on trial in Pietermaritzburg in the high court from March 15 to 26 next year.

The case was due to be heard between October 12 and 16, but was yesterday postponed until 2010 after an agreement between the parties.

The Glencoe man, whose name cannot be published due to his alleged HIV status, alleges that he was infected with HIV during a heart bypass operation at St Augustine’s hospital on September 20, 2003, during which he underwent a blood transfusion, and that contaminated blood was administered to him.

He claims that either the SA National Blood Service or St Augustines hospital or both were negligent in that they failed to take adequate steps to ensure that no HIV infected blood was available for transfusion; that they failed to take adequate steps to screen donors or monitor them after they had donated blood; that they failed to properly test the blood available for transfusion to ensure it was not infected; and that they failed to properly inform him of the risk of contracting HIV when receiving a blood transfusion.

The SA National Blood Service and St Augustines are opposing the lawsuit and indicate in replying papers that they dispute all the allegations against them.

The man is claiming damages totalling R2 764 224 for past and future medical costs incurred as a result of being infected with the HIV virus; as well as loss of earnings, pain and discomfort; the fact that he suffers from depression and had developed a panic disorder; anticipated deterioration in his health and dimunition of his life expectancy.



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