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Hospital ordered to pay after HIV scare

A WELL-KNOWN infectious diseases hospital in Beijing was ordered to pay 13,344 yuan (US$1,959) for accidentally pricking a man with a needle an AIDS patient had used, according to a court ruling on Monday.

Beijing Ditan Hospital was ordered to pay 3,344 yuan for economic loss and 10,000 yuan for emotional damage to a 29-year-old man from central China's Henan Province, surnamed Xi, according to the Chaoyang District People's Court ruling.

Xi accompanied a friend with AIDS in the hospital in March 2008. He slept in a folding bed close to the sickroom door. A needle that had just been used to draw blood from an AIDS patient fell off a nurse's tray and pricked Xi's right foot at 6am on March 17.

The hospital gave Xi free treatment after that and he tested negative for HIV after half a year of observation. The AIDS virus has a six-month dormancy period.

Xi sued the hospital in November, asking for 128,000 yuan in compensation for psychological trauma.

The Ditan Hospital said Xi privately set up a bed in the sickroom, which was against hospital regulations. Nurses tried to persuade him to leave, but failed.

The court said the hospital was responsible for the safety of its staff.

It should be aware that the sickroom was a dangerous area and should have forced Xi to leave.

The nurse did not take any preventive measures even though she knew Xi's bed was close to the door, the court said.

The hospital did not lodge an appeal against case.


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