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HIV testing strips cut in half for trial: Saint Paul Hospital

Update: December, 10/2019 - 16:43


A testing strip is cut in half. — Photo from VTV24's report

HÀ NỘI — A representative of the Hà Nội's Saint Paul General Hospital said on Tuesday the Microbiology Department’s medical workers cut 40 HIV testing strips in half and tested on a trial basis on 80 blood samples without reporting to and asking for permission of the hospital’s managers.

The pilot result of Test Alere HIV Combo was not given to patients.

In an official document in response to Vietnam Television coverage which revealed their medical workers failing to follow HIV and Hepatitis B testing process, the hospital representative said the pilot HIV testing was conducted between September and November 2019.

The official blood testing on these 80 patients used Test Alere HIV ½ supplied by Lê Lợi Company through bidding, which follows hospital’s medical process.

VTV24 reported on Monday that the medical workers of the Microbiology Department used HIV and Hepatitis B testing kits manufactured in Japan. After removing the package, they cut the testing strips in half. The cutting line is on the testing chemical line.

The blood sample is then dropped on the strip. Four hours later, testers know the results.

Patients still have to cover full payment of the testing service without knowing that only half of the medical supplies are used.

According to medical experts, this action could lead to false results.

By cutting the testing strips in half, the medical workers have one extra piece of strip after testing two patients.

Each quick HIV test kit which consists of 100 testing strips costs VNĐ3 million (US$130).

After knowing the report, three medical workers including Dr Chu Thị Loan, deputy head of Microbiology Department, and two other technicians, have been suspended since Monday.

The hospital has invited inspectors of the city Department of Health and police to investigate the case.

The hospital representative denied the fact that medical workers cut Hepatitis B testing strips.

The hospital did not mix four blood samples into one tube for Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent assay as reported by media, the hospital’s spokesman said.

The hospital is reviewing medical process in order to improve health check-up and treatment’s quality, looking towards safety and satisfaction of patients, the spokesman said.

Also on Tuesday, the Department of Health Examination and Treatment under the health ministry ordered the Hà Nội Department of Health to clarify the information reported by the media, review the testing process and announce the result to the media.

According to World Health Organisation, the accuracy of quick HIV tests may be affected by factors including whether technicians follow testing process or not.

Saint Paul is one of four major hospitals of the capital city with 600 beds and more than 1,000 medical workers.

About 600,000 patients have their health check up there every year. The number of inpatients reaches 45,000 people per year. — VNS


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