Manama: Health authorities in Saudi Arabia have apologised after a 12-year-old Saudi girl was given contaminated blood in a botched hospital transfusion.

“A young girl received HIV-infected blood following an error by an employee at Jizan General Hospital,” the health authority in Jizan, in the southwest corner of Saudi Arabia, said. “The error was discovered during the technical review and the patient was recalled immediately. She was immediately admitted to the King Fahd Hospital where she is receiving special treatment in line with the medical standards in such cases. Her family have been informed and an apology has been presented to them,” the statement said, local news site Sabq reported on Thursday.

The health ministry set up a committee to conduct an investigation into the incident before taking stringent disciplinary action against those found guilty of negligence or misjudgement, the ministry said.

However, the health authority statement was harshly criticised by the editorial team at Sabq who said that it did not reflect a sense of responsibility in the “crime perpetrated against the young innocent girl.”

“Her life has been shattered and she has been sentenced to become a burden to her family and their modest economic condition,” the news site said. “In order to avoid further medical errors and crimes against citizens, we demand that the health minister assume his responsibilities towards what happened and announce a series of strong administrative decisions and to give instructions that the infected girl be treated at the most advanced specialised international hospitals.”

The hospital manager and his assistants should resign in a face-saving decision following the catastrophe that the young girl suffered, Sabq said.

Several online users also blamed the health authorities for “ending a girl’s life” through “negligence and irresponsible behaviour”, saying that the apology would not be enough to allow her or her family to live normally.

According to Saudi daily Okaz, Prince Mohammad Bin Nasser Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the Governor of Jizan, has ordered a full investigation into the incident.