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News18 » Videos » News18 Shorts

Turned away from flight, HIV+ girl dies at airport

Oct 29, 2008 04:26 PM IST India India
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New Delhi: An HIV positive young woman died at the Kolkata Airport after airport officials refused to let her fly home.

The 22-year-old HIV-positive girl was desperately trying to reach home to see her parents, before time ran out for her.

She arrived at the airport on Monday morning on a wheel chair on an Air India flight with a boarding pass for the connecting flight to Aizwal, which was supposed to depart at 11:00 hrs IST.

The girl, who hailed from Mizoram, had been issued a a fit-to-fly certificate by doctors at the Bangalore's Bowring Hospital, where she had been undergoing treatment.

Using this certificate she had arrived at Kolkata's Dum Dum airport, but airport officials refused to let her board a Kingfisher flight to Aizawl, saying they needed another fitness certificate after she fell very ill while waiting for her security check, collapsing in the domestic lounge of the airport.

Air India officials escorted her to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) doctor who strictly recommended immediate hospitalisation of the patient, saying she should not be allowed to fly. She was then taken by the AAI officials to a local nursing home and the doctor there too advised the same. She was found to be suffering from acute pneumonia.

Ex-BJP MP, H T Sangliana reacted to the news saying, "It is one of the most inhuman acts. She wanted to die at home. Because of the callousness and red tapism she died at Kolkata. They should change their rules."

"I tried to reason with the airline officials, but to no avail. I again got a medical fitness certificate and faxed it to them, but they still refused to relent," added Sangliana who had been trying to help the girl get home.

Meanwhile, the Mizoram government says it has no complaints regarding the case. They feel the airline did exactly what it was supposed to do. They say that that the patient was unconscious before boarding the flight and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation rules state that a patient must be conscious before boarding a flight no matter what papers she is carrying.