New York Times Examines Ongoing Case of Health Care Workers Accused of Intentionally Infecting Libyan Children With HIV
The New York Times on Sunday examined the ongoing trial of one Palestinian and six Bulgarian health care workers who are accused of intentionally infecting hundreds of children with HIV. More than 400 children in Libya contracted HIV in 1997 and 1998 in what some Libyan groups say was a conspiracy to experiment with HIV on children, the Times reports. However, some European governments and human rights groups say that the Libyan Health Ministry "failed to screen blood products adequately and allowed poor sterilization practices by the staff of Al Fateh Children's Hospital," where the children were infected (Tyler, New York Times, 1/11). The seven health care workers, including two physicians and five nurses, have been detained in Libya since early 1999 on charges that they deliberately infected children with HIV through contaminated blood products. A civil prosecutor in September 2003 requested about $10 million in compensation for the families of each HIV-positive child (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/10/03). The trial was suspended in December 2003 to await a judgment by a group of Libyan doctors. Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi has promised Western diplomats that he will intervene, but his decision will have political implications, the Times reports. If he accepts the European opinion that the epidemic was caused by Libya's health system, he will win the support of Europe but will be forced to accept blame at home, a move that could cost more than $4 billion if Libya provides the requested compensation, according to the Times (New York Times, 1/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.