China: 14 infected with HIV, hepatitis B as hospital staff reuse medical supplies

In Zhejiang province, medical reuse tube, infecting patients with human immunodeficiency virus causing Aids.

14 patients infected with HIV, hepatitis B in China hospital due to negligence, authorities punish hospital staff
A nurse takes blood from a man who received a free HIV test at an event to mark World AIDS day. Reuters

At least 14 patients were infected with HIV and hepatitis B in two Chinese hospitals due to staff negligence that caused failure in implementing proper medical procedures. Health authorities have taken immediate steps to punish the staff involved in both the cases.

The China Daily cited the health authorities saying five people were infected in the first case. During an unspecified procedure at a hospital in coastal Zhejiang province, a staff reused a tube that eventually infected the patients with human immunodeficiency virus, the virus that causes Aids.

The staff member was detained by police and administrative punishments were given to several others at the Zhejiang Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a major public hospital in Hangzhou city.

State news agency Xinhua said that in the second case nine patients were infected at a hospital in eastern Shandong province with the hepatitis B virus. Reports said the incident happened after staff in the hospital's haemodialysis unit operated against regulations.

A number of hospital staff were sacked, including the head and deputy head of the People's Hospital in Qingdao city, after the incident. They were also removed from their Communist Party posts.

These latest incidents have shaken public trust in China's healthcare system to a certain extent. In recent years, the image of the healthcare system suffered due to cases involving bribes and the use of unapproved treatments.

China's healthcare system treats up to 1.4 billion people and according to the reports it is the world's second largest drugs market behind the United States.