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Apr 27, 2001

Blood scandal boils down to “he said, she said”

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More details are emerging on the infection of three patients at the K.H.M.H. with HIV tainted blood. On last night’s One on One with Dickie Bradley, Minister of Health Jose Coye told viewers that the investigation boils down to a simple dispute over the contents of a phone call. The infected blood was drawn from a donor and sent over to the small Stat Lab at the hospital, pending testing of the sample. A need arose for the blood and the person at the Stat Lab called to get the results of the test before the blood could be used.

Jose Coye, Min. of Health

“If there is this need for the blood from the Stat Lab, but the blood has not yet…”

Dickie Bradley

“We are talking about this specific bag of blood.”

Jose Coye

“Yes, this bag. And if the clearance had not yet been given, ordinarily, I am saying it is given in writing once it is in the Blood Bank. But when it has been moved from the Blood Bank before the testing is completed, the person over at the Stat Lab will call over to the Central Lab for the clearance of that blood. The investigation revealed that the person said she did the call and the response was that it was okay.”

Dickie Bradley

“She called somebody over at Central Lab, who had conducted the test and asked, “listen, I have this bag of blood here it’s labelled, it has on the red tag, has it been tested? Is it good to use, can we use it?” and you’re saying that the person on the other end at the Central Lab tells the person over at Karl Heusner at the Stat Lab, “that blood has been tested, it’s cleared, you can send it on for use.” That’s what that investigation is showing?”

Jose Coye

“Right, but I wouldn’t want to communicate it in those words.”

Dickie Bradley

“Well put it in your words.”

Jose Coye

“It’s not like the person asking was emphatic in saying “are you sure it is okay, do you really say this thing is okay?” No, they did a casual request. It’s a routine thing, you are there under pressure, you call, “it is okay?” The answer according to this person, yes it was okay.”

Dickie Bradley

“Fine, so the tag is removed from the blood, it’s sent to the doctor down to the ward and it is then used.”

Jose Coye

“Yes.”

Dickie Bradley

“So that’s the procedure so far that the investigation has revealed?”

Jose Coye

“Yes.”

The dispute arises because the person at the Central Medical Laboratory claims that she did not tell the Stat Lab that the blood was tested as safe. It will now be up to the Commission of Inquiry to find out the truth. In the meantime, no more verbal confirmations will be accepted for blood use pending a complete review of procedures for blood transfusions, testing and storage.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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