Imagine being told that you are HIV-positive and then living with the stigma of HIV and taking the HIV drug cocktail known as HAART (“highly active antiretroviral therapy”) in order to prolong your life before being told eight years later that you had been misdiagnosed as having HIV. That is what a 43-year-old Kentucky man endured before finally being told in August 2012 that confirmatory HIV testing was never done and that his HIV diagnosis in 2004 was wrong (an infectious disease specialist advised him in December 2012 that no one had ever performed the required confirmatory testing regarding his HIV status).
The man filed a Kentucky medical malpractice lawsuit in August 2013 against his medical providers at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, the Bluegrass Care Clinic (an infectious disease and HIV/AIDS clinic affiliated with the University of Kentucky’s medical school), and the Fayette County Health Department, claiming that they were negligent when they misdiagnosed him as having HIV and by failing to order the appropriate confirmatory tests for HIV.
The man’s nightmare began in 2004 when he visited the emergency room of the University of Kentucky Medical Center with the complaint of profuse bleeding from his colon. He was advised at that time that he was HIV positive, despite an earlier routine HIV test done at the health department that was negative. As a consequence, he was told that he could only have sexual relations with HIV-positives partners (the man had sexual relationships with three HIV-positive partners after his HIV misdiagnosis, although he has been in a committed relationship with an HIV-positive partner for the last two years).
The emotional turmoil of his HIV misdiagnosis has been extreme: he contemplated suicide in 2009, when things had gotten very bad for him in his personal life, but fortunately he did not follow through with suicide. The man recently confided, “I feel like I was sentenced to a crime I wasn’t guilty of. I have intentionally put distance between my family and my friends because I thought I was dying, and I didn’t want my family to see me dying. I didn’t want my nieces and nephews see me deteriorating. I thought I was dying…”
In discussing his reason for filing the Kentucky medical malpractice lawsuit, the man stated, “This has been the most traumatic event for me. The worst. The worst. I’m not so sure the next person can be as strong as I have to be able to stand up and fight for what they believe in. If it saves one person, it’s worth it.”
If you or a loved one were misdiagnosed with HIV (told that you were HIV positive when you were not), you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a malpractice lawsuit, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website or call us on our toll-free line (800-295-3959) to be connected with Kentucky medical malpractice lawyers (or medical malpractice lawyers in your U.S. state) who may assist you with your medical malpractice claim.
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