HAART Almost Kills Healthy Patient

February 6, 2012

6 Feb - When Ganesh Prasad was diagnosed HIV positive in 2010, his initial emotions ranged from shock to disbelief.  The next nine months were filled with fear and exasperation as the 38-year-old was needlessly thrust upon death’s doorstep.

by NEETU CHANDRA
Daily Mail (INDIA)

The Ghaziabad-based rice mill worker’s ordeal began in October 2010 when he visited Noida’s ESI Hospital for a health insurance related routine medical checkup.

‘I am covered by the government’s ESI scheme. The company that provides health insurance to workers also checks their HIV status.

‘I, too, was subjected to the test at the Noida hospital and, to my utter surprise, the result was positive,’ Prasad recalled.

The sole breadwinner of his family, Prasad was left wondering how he had contracted the dreaded disease without exposing himself to any of the virus’s transmission risk factors.

‘But I trusted the doctors’ judgement and requested them to treat me. They performed more tests and subsequently confirmed that I was HIV positive. Though I did not suffer from any health problem, treatment got underway in earnest,’ he said.

With the anti-retroviral treatment (ART) – the staple for AIDS patients – Prasad’s condition started deteriorating. ‘There was a general feeling of being unwell.

‘They asked me to stop taking the medicines immediately because they were harming me. I went back to ESI Hospital in Noida in December 2011 and got the HIV test done yet again. This time, the result indicated that I was not HIV positive,’ Prasad said.

‘To reconfirm the test, I went to Delhi’s Lady Hardinge Medical College and the report was negative. HAART was causing all the side effects,’ he said.

According to doctors, HAART includes the administration of toxic drugs that can lead to rashes, nausea, anaemia, pancreatitis and lipid abnormalities. In rare cases, it can cause anaphylaxis (a sudden reaction) which can cause death.

HAART medicines can also trigger heart, kidney, bone, liver and metabolic problems. He was shifted to a private hospital after six months. Doctors gave Prasad a 50-50 chance of survival.

He battled for life for nine months and is believed to have recovered now. A mentally, emotionally and financially drained Prasad moved the consumer court for damages.

He also approached the director of ESI Hospitals as well as the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) secretary in Delhi for relief. ‘For six months, I spent a lot of money on the treatment for a disease I was never suffering from. I borrowed at least Rs 5 lakh.

People ostracised me thinking that I had AIDS. The errant ESI Hospital in Noida is responsible for all this. I want the hospital authorities to compensate me and my family for the trauma,’ Prasad said.

‘The hospital authorities have intentionally lost my papers, reports and records. I have also sought help from the health department of the Delhi government,’ he pointed out in despair.

When Mail Today contacted of Noida ESI Hospital director Dr J.S. Sarang, he said he was looking into the matter.

Apart from this, I had eruptions all over my body and experienced loss of stamina. Upon divulging these details to the hospital’s doctors, I was told that death was inevitable and my treatment was abruptly brought to a halt,’ he said. ‘I became weaker day by day and was very worried about the future of my family, particularly my children,’ Prasad recounted.

He has two daughters and a son. ‘My relatives admitted me to a private hospital in Ghaziabad. The doctors there conducted the HIV test again. The report was negative.

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