Medical Negligence News

Misdiagnosed Patient told she was HIV Positive Still Awaiting Court Verdict

Posted on: April 18th, 2014 by Medical Negligence

A judge at the High Court in Dublin has not delivered a verdict on a case involving a woman’s claim for her misdiagnosis of HIV.

When Michelle Kenny, aged thirty-five, attended St James’ Hospital in Dublin on the 17th August 2010, she had just returned from a holiday in Majorca. Ms Kenny was feeling unwell and, when an x-ray of her chest and an ECG had been conducted, she was admitted to the hospital with a suspected blood clot on her lung.

Just a week later, Ms Kenny was discharged from hospital, having been told that she was in the clear – but on the 6th October she was asked to return to the hospital’s Outpatient Clinic, where she would be tested for tuberculosis. When she attended the clinic, Ms Kenny was asked if she would give permission for a test for HIV to be conducted on her bloods. Ms Kenny consented, and the next week she received the results of the tests over the phone. \

Ms Kenny was told that, whilst the test shoed negative for tuberculosis, it appeared that she was infected with HIV. Ms Kenny was quite distraught, and believed that the prognosis was fatal. Further tests were carried out on her bloods, and though these confirmed that Ms Kenny was in fact HIV negative, she had already withdrawn herself from her social life and had suffered from shock.

An investigation was carried out, concerning the wrong diagnosis, and it was uncovered that Ms Kenny’s blood test results had been confused with those of another patient. When Ms Kenny discovered this, she contacted a solicitor and made a compensation claim against the hospital.

The hospital disputed Ms Kenny’s claim, saying that though an error occurred, Ms Kenny had not suffered any injury or loss because of it. They did not admit liability, and the case proceeded to Dublin’s High Court, where it was heard by Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon.

The judge heard of Ms Kenny’s distress following the misdiagnosis of HIV, but she also heard from representatives of St James’ Hospital that the mistake had been quickly identified and Ms Kenny was promptly informed of the error.

Judge O’Hanlon stated that she required more time to consider Ms Kenny’s claim, and that reserved judgement until a date that has yet to be confirmed.