Thefts by HIV infected person sparks concerns at GBPH

Report by: 
ROOPA LALL
Port Blair
4 Dec 2017

Burglary allegedly committed by a HIV infected person has become a cause of concern for in-patients of GB Pant Hospital here. As per sources, sharp increase in theft cases has been recorded in the New Male Ward 1 and 2 of the hospital where the HIV patient, reportedly infected by HIV virus, taking advantage of absence of security guards, plunders away with mobile phones, gold or other valuables of patients admitted in the wards during night hours. However, no action has been initiated by the authorities to detain the patient reportedly for fear of contracting the deadly infection, said sources.
The matter came to light after one attendant of a patient reported the matter to the police recently. “My father is admitted in the New Male Ward of GB Pant Hospital for the past seven days. When a couple of days ago, I asked the nursing staff to switch off the lights to enable patients to sleep, the staff asked to keep the lights turned on or else the thief will enter the ward. However, I convinced the nurse to switch off the lights and after some time, I noticed the person who started searching the belongings of my father. I immediately caught hold of him and took him to the police unit at the hospital. When asked by cops, the person informed that he was an in-patient of the hospital and was let free,” said the person requesting anonymity.
On further inquiry, it was revealed that the person was suffering from HIV infection. A resident of Prothrapur, the person also appears to be mentally disturbed. In the absence of watch and ward staff, the patient so far has committed many thefts in the ward including Rs 3000 cash from a female patient and a mobile phone. The culprit was also reportedly caught red-handed trying to snatch jewellery of a patient recently, but was later let off after he revealed that he was a HIV patient, added the person.
An official of the Andaman and Nicobar AIDS Control Society said that the society so far has not received any complaint or report about the patient. “The District Jail here referred a HIV patient to the society some time ago, but there has been no further communication regarding his release. As per rules, HIV infected persons should be provided proper care and treatment, but we’re unable to initiate any steps until we receive any complaint from either the police or the hospital authorities,” said the official assuring to look into the issue.