Saturday, May 24, 2008



Almost 200 new mums are having HIV tests after the medic who delivered their babies was found to have the virus.

Women who had Caesarean section operations at two hospitals in Essex have been sent a letter urging them to be HIV tested in case they have contracted the disease.

Worried mums are facing an anxious wait for the results of a fingerprick blood test to see if they have been accidentally infected.

Angelique Millington, 32, a hospital healthcare assistant from Southend, who has a 15-month-old son Joshua, is having her HIV test today.

HIV scare: Basildon Hospital, Essex is one of two hospitals where mothers may have contracted the deadly virus. She said: "I can't eat, I can't sleep. It's such a worry. They have put the fear of God into me. "I'm so scared to go along for the test. I'm petrified and embarrassed.

"I'm a healthcare assistant at a hospital in London and I know the risks. I'm just so worried about me and my son.

"They say they are sorry for the distress. This has made me so angry, why has it taken them 15 months to contact me?"

Tracy Cause, 33, from Leigh-on-Sea, was rushed into surgery in July last year when her son Callum's heart-rate dropped. She is terrified he may have been infected by the medic.

She said: "The birth was traumatic enough and took me a long time to get over. To have this on top is unbelievable.

"I was cut wide open to get my baby out and my whole body and baby were exposed too. Sorry doesn't really cut it.

"The staff say my son doesn't need the test because as a baby his immune system would have been so low if he had HIV he would have been gone by now. but I want to know he's OK and will be getting him tested too."

The new mum has had a fingerprick test which indicates she has tested negative for HIV.

She added: "I can't believe someone who worked with mothers and babies could have this disease and my have passed it on.

"The letter from the hospital said they were aware it could be upsetting but that doesn't even come close. My partner partner Stuart and my family have been in pieces."

Basildon Hospital has sent out 126 warning letters and 66 have been posted to patients at Southend Hospital.

The medic worked at both of the hospitals between 2006 and 2007 but is now said to have been moved to a "risk free" role.

Dr Stephen Morgan, medical director of Basildon NHS Trust said: "We regret some of our patients could have been exposed to the risk of HIV infection.

Dr Grahame Tosh, medical director at Southend Hospital, added: "We are very sorry some of our patients could have been exposed to the risk of HIV infection whilst in our care.

"It is important to stress transmission of HIV from an infected healthcare worker to a patient is very rare. Such instances have only been reported three times worldwide and never in the UK.

New mums caught up in the HIV scare are being offered immediate HIV tests and counselling.

No comments: