Lawsuit Over False HIV Diagnosis Settled In D.C.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A District of Columbia health clinic specializing in HIV and AIDS has settled a lawsuit that accused a staff member of mistakenly telling a patient he was HIV-positive.

The Washington Post says terms of Terry Hedgepeth’s settlement with the Whitman-Walker Clinic weren’t disclosed, but the agreement was reached as both sides prepared for trial.

Hedgepeth brought a $20 million lawsuit in 2005, five years after a clinic worker mistakenly wrote in his files that he had tested positive for HIV.

The test was negative, but Hedgepeth didn’t know that until he decided to seek alternative treatment in 2005.

His lawyer says the misdiagnosis caused post-traumatic stress.

A D.C. appeals court recently ruled that patients given incorrect information from their doctors about a life threatening illness can sue for emotional distress.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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