Turkish Red Crescent ‘blames science’ for AIDS infection via blood transplant
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet
CİHAN photoThe Turkish Red Crescent, also known as Kızılay, has blamed “flaws of science” for the death of a patient who was infected with HIV following a blood transfusion.
“In medicine these kinds of incidents are described as a ‘serious and undesired flow of incidents.’ There is no issue of institution employee fault here; it’s only possible to talk about ‘science’s mistake,’” Kızılay’s lawyers said at the first hearing of the case into the institution over allegations of causing Ahmet Emin Bilgin’s death in 2011 by giving him HIV-infected blood.
Kızılay’s lawyers further likened the medicine to natural events, saying some results could not be avoided despite taking all the necessary measures.
52-year-old Bilgin, a father of two, was suffering from a kidney illness and his mother’s kidney was transplanted to him at the private Medical Park Hospital in Istanbul.
As his condition deteriorated four months after surgery, he was brought to Medical Park, where it was detected that he had acquired the HIV infection. Only three days after the diagnosis, Bilgin passed away and the Health Ministry investigation revealed that he had died because of the blood provided by Kızılay.
Bilgin’s wife, Satu Bilgin, has filed a lawsuit worth 1.1 million Turkish Liras against the ministry and the Kızılay, accusing them of committing errors during the course of events. Medical Park Hospital has also faced a criminal suit, for which prosecutors are still collecting proof for indictment.
In their defenses, both the ministry and the hospital claimed Kızılay was responsible for conducting the necessary controls of the blood and the donor.
However, Kızılay denied bearing any responsibility in the case, putting the blame on the individual donor.
“The institution is not at fault for the donor’s deceptive declaration,” the defense has said. “In the blood Donor Questioning Form filled by the donor, diseases that can be transmitted through blood and all the risky cases are asked in details.”
The attorney of the family, Sema Kılıç, also spoke during the hearing and said the incident caused great psychological problems for the family in addition to Bilgin’s loss.
“Satu Bilgin has experienced a great fear of being HIV-infected as well. Her children were the ones who felt this fear most. The family has been excluded from society as the incident was reported in the media,” she said.