At least 15 pregnant women died in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu in a span of four months after they were given "stale" blood during a transfusion, local media reported Monday. A preliminary inquiry has found that blood stored in inappropriate temperature turned stale, yet some doctors certified them safe. Senior doctors and officials, who conducted maternal audits and inspected blood banks in Dharmapuri, Hosur, and Krishnagiri government hospitals, found transfusing such “spoiled” blood led to the death of pregnant women and mothers. “In many cases, women had severe complications and side-effects, including fits, minutes after they were transfused blood. The blood volume in some cases was lower than 50ml,” said a senior health official who did not want to be quoted.
News of the incidents, the last of which reportedly happened in January, sparked outrage and the state's Health Secretary Beela Rajesh ordered criminal and disciplinary proceedings against the three blood bank officers. Over a dozen staff nurses and lab technicians would also face punishment for their actions. Earlier before this incident, a pregnant woman was given HIV infected blood. Blood Management said blood was safe. In this case, it was discovered that about two years ago when a person donated blood, HIV infection was found in his blood. He also had hepatitis B. These investigations were carried out in the government hospital lab.