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Twenty-seven Distributing Staffs of HIV Infected Blood Prosecuted

Twenty-seven Distributing Staffs of HIV Infected Blood Prosecuted

Posted July. 29, 2004 22:09,   


It was revealed that donated blood by people infected with AIDS, hepatitis, and malaria was distributed due to careless management of blood by the Korean National Red Cross.

The second Criminal Department of the Seoul District Prosecutor’s Office (chief: Sung Si-woong) charged 27 former and current directors of central and district blood centers under the Korean National Red Cross for distributing the ineligible blood.

The prosecutors have been investigating the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Korean National Red Cross, and blood centers for six months ever since they received a report from four civic groups, including the Health Rights Network.

However, controversies are forecasted since the prosecutors only charged the business workers without charging the officials of the Korean National Red Cross and the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

In the investigation, the prosecutors found seven AIDS infections, eight hepatitis infections, and four malaria infections through blood transfusions since 1999.

According to the results of investigation, the Red Cross transfused bloods from three HIV positive people into six people. Four recipients out of the six are infected with AIDS, and the other two, already dead, are presumed to have also been infected. Also, it was found out that one person from the family of the person infected with AIDS is suffering from a secondary infection.

Director Sung said, “Although there were seven incidents of AIDS infections or presumptions of infection, no one is to be charged due to imperfections in the law.”

Also, the Red Cross collected blood from nine donors who were inadequate to donate blood without inquiring into their past records of blood donation, and the inspectors judged the blood to be negative. Eight people out of the 15 recipients of the blood are infected with hepatitis.

Four people out of eight who received blood from four donors with malaria have been infected with malaria after undergoing transfusion.

Seven incidents of AIDS infections and four malaria infections among the investigation results weren’t included in last week’s results of investigations on inadequate blood tests from 1994 to 2003 conducted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. However, the eight incidents of hepatitis infections were included.

The investigation of inadequate blood tests, conducted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, was more limited than the investigation conducted by prosecutors, because it was more focused on blood inspectors’ mistakes in the Red Cross, rather than overall blood management situation such as its managing system and employees’ faults.

Jin-Young Hwang Tae-Hoon Lee buddy@donga.com jefflee@donga.com