Physicians Pay $18.4M for Failing to Test Patient for HIV
July 9, 2018 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care
A federal jury in Massachusetts awarded $18.4 million to a patient who alleged that his physicians failed to test him for HIV infection even though he had risk factors that made him more likely to contract the virus, according to a June 19, 2018, article in the Boston Globe. The 48-year-old patient was gay and had previously worked as a paramedic—both of which are risk factors for contracting HIV, according to the article. The patient consented to an HIV test in 2007 while undergoing a "battery of tests" to treat facial paralysis. A medical resident told him that his symptoms were "highly suggestive of HIV infection," but the defendant neurologist disagreed, noting in the patient's medical record that there was "no risk of HIV." The neurologist allegedly canceled the HIV test but failed to inform the patient. When the patient visited his primary care physician, the defendant internist told him that his tests "looked good."