19 March 2019
Union Hospital has come under fire for an incorrect HIV test report on a pregnant mainland woman. Photo: HKEJ
Union Hospital has come under fire for an incorrect HIV test report on a pregnant mainland woman. Photo: HKEJ

Hospital apologizes to pregnant woman over false HIV report

A private hospital in Sha Tin has apologized to a pregnant mainland woman for wrongly informing her that she had contracted the HIV virus.

Union Hospital said it regrets the distress caused to the woman due to a false alarm about the AIDS-related virus, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.   

Admitting that incorrect test results may have caused anguish to the woman and her family, the hospital promised to do all it can to redress the situation.

The mainland woman, said to bear the surname Chiu, went for a prenatal examination in early April, when the hospital carried out blood tests as part of a screening process.

Following the tests, hospital staff informed her that she had tested positive for the HIV virus.

Chiu, who was four months pregnant at that time, was also told that there is 40 percent chance that her unborn baby could get infected. 

Chiu, who has been living in Hong Kong since she married a local man a year ago, collapsed on hearing the report.

Depressed and afraid for her unborn baby, she decided to take more tests — at the Prince of Wales Hospital here, as well as at two hospitals in Shenzhen.

On April 29, the Prince of Wales Hospital informed her that the test showed no HIV virus, according to Apple Daily.

Chiu then took the report and confronted Union Hospital authorities, accusing them of giving her false information and making her go through hell for weeks.

The woman alleged that the wrong report almost led to a divorce, and that the tension nearly drove her to suicide.

On Monday, Chiu went to the Sha Tin hospital with her family and demanded compensation from the institution.

Hospital authorities agreed to make amends for the distress caused to her.

In addition to correcting the test report, the hospital, which says it never made such mistake since it began operations in 1995, promised to refund the woman HK$10,000 in hospital deposit charge and HK$2,000 in blood test fee.

However, it refused to book a bed for her upcoming child birth, nor would it refund fees charged for her prenatal examination.

Hospital authorities said initial tests might, in very rare cases, give incorrect results.

A meeting has been scheduled today between Chiu and representatives of the hospital.

While admitting that tests could sometimes go wrong, Civic Party legislator Kwok Ka-ki, who is a medical doctor by profession, said it is rare to see a false HIV-positive result coming out of a pregnant woman’s blood test.

Hospitals usually repeat the test when they get alarming results, he noted.

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