A veteran is suing the Department of Veteran Affairs for allegedly failing to inform him that he had tested positive for HIV twenty years ago.
According to John Doe, a US Navy veteran from South Carolina, he had been unknowingly living with HIV for over twenty years because officials failed to tell him he had tested positive for the virus back in 1995.
In a federal lawsuit, Mr.Doe has alleged that he has developed “full-blown AIDS” decades after his HIV test results came back as positive.
He also insists that he was not told about his condition even though guidelines dictate patients are informed of positive test results.
“In clear contravention of the standard of care, Mr. Doe was not informed of the positive HIV test until decades later,” the lawsuit reads.
According to the veteran’s lawyer, Chad McGowan, his client had been unnecessarily subjected to living without treatment for 25 long years.
“The treatment he’s getting now is effective, but he’s had essentially 25 years of wear and tear for having no treatment,” McGowan said.
As the lawyer added, his client “feels extremely guilty about the girlfriends he’s had over the last 25 years” because he might have unknowingly spread the virus.
Previously, in 2014, a nurse practitioner working at Columbia’s Department of Veterans Affairs medical center, the same facility where the veteran originally tested positive for HIV, noted the veteran’s 1995 lab tests in a memo. The vital piece of information, however, was reportedly still not conveyed to Doe.
A year later, a VA doctor allegedly came across the positive HIV test from 1995 but failed to “diagnose Mr. Doe with HIV” and “add the positive HIV test to Mr. Doe’s problem list or medical history in his medical chart.”
As the lawsuit states, the doctor merely asked Doe if he knew that he had tested positive for HIV back in 1995 to which the veteran responded by saying he had no idea.
According to the lawsuit, it wasn’t until 2018 that Doe received a definitive diagnosis and began his treatment following a visit to the Maimonides Medical Center, a non-VA hospital.
As the complaint argues, Mr. Doe “needlessly suffered for decades with co-existing conditions common in HIV infected persons, including lymphadenopathy, neurotoxoplasmosis, muscle aches and joint pain” due to the defendants’ failure to act.
“Had Defendants acted within the standard of care, Mr. Doe would not have suffered the losses he has suffered, and will continue to suffer in the future, and more likely than not, he would not have developed AIDS,” the complaint stated.
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