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China bans hospitals from turning away HIV patients

November 23, 2012 19:30 IST

China, which has over 7 lakh HIV/AIDS patients, on Friday banned its hospitals from refusing to treat people with the deadly disease following reports that a HIV carrier had to forge his identity papers to gain access to medical treatment at a government clinic.

The health authorities issued circular banning health institutions from denying medical treatment to the people living with HIV/AIDS, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The circular ordered health authorities at all levels to take substantial measures to guarantee HIV/AIDS patients' rights to medical treatment as well as the safety of health professionals.

It said hospitals should offer appropriate medical care to an HIV/AIDS patient whose condition is discovered during the course of outpatient, inpatient and emergency treatments, as well as voluntary HIV/AIDS counselling and testing.

Hospitals should not send them to another hospital or refuse to treat them.

The order followed a report in media today that an AIDS patient sought to seek treatment in a hospital in Tianjin by forging his medical records after initially being denied an operation for his lung cancer.

25-year-old Tianjin native was refused a lung cancer operation by Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital after he was found to be HIV positive.

The case prompted Vice Premier Li Keqiang, who is tipped to take over from Premier Wen Jiabao after March, asked the Ministry of Health to guarantee AIDS patients' right to treatment while protecting the safety of medical personnel that treat the patient.

Friday's order said hospitals unable to offer necessary treatments should refer the patient to another designated hospital or ask local health authorities to arrange areferral, the MOH said.

If a patient's condition means that he or she cannot be transferred, health authorities should designate doctors and nurses to perform medical services at the hospital where the patient has been admitted.

Furthermore, the circular said transgressors will face harsh punishments.

According to 2010 official figures, China had about 7.40 lakh HIV/AIDS patients.

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