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Woman Potentially Exposed to HIV in Hospital

In Orange County, Florida a hospital is facing massive liability for a woman’s claim that their medical staff exposed her to HIV. A 75-year-old woman went to the Florida Hospital East campus last November for her bronchitis. She ended up in a shared room with a patient who was HIV positive. During her stay, hospital workers abruptly changed her room and then admitted to the woman that a nurse had used the same IV line on her that had been previously connected to the patient with HIV.

Now, the woman must wait for months while the hospital runs blood tests to see whether she has contracted HIV. She has said that she is scared of being around her family and that she constantly thinks about what will happen if she does have the disease. There is a six-month incubation period for HIV, and a potentially exposed person must go through multiple rounds of blood testing during that time period to see whether they are infected.

While the hospital has admitted that the incident occurred, it is denying responsibility for the accident. Florida Hospital East is claiming that the nurse was a contracted employee from a third party, and therefore the hospital is not responsible for her mistakes. The victim disagrees and wants the hospital to take responsibility for its mistakes.

When media reached out to the hospital for comment, it released an email that stated, “We have not been served with a lawsuit regarding this matter. However, we have strenuous policies to safeguard the health of our patients. The patient’s first incubation period of 3 months ends in February and she’ll be tested again for the virus. Three months after that, more tests will be conducted. Health officials say HIV can take several months to show up in someone’s blood work.” The victim’s family claims that the hospital initially offered her treatment but then never followed up.

HIV Exposure in Hospitals

This is not the first time that a person has sued in Florida for being exposed to HIV by medical professionals. In 2011, U.S. Army veteran Juan Rivera, 55, went to the VA hospital in Miami for a routine colonoscopy. One year later, he received a letter that said that the equipment used in his procedure might have been contaminated, and when he was tested he came back positive for HIV.

Mr. Rivera sued the VA hospital for $20 million for exposing him to HIV because of improper cleaning of equipment. The VA admitted that 2,539 Miami veterans are “potentially at risk for infection” from the colonoscopies, and five other veterans in the area who had colonoscopies in the five years prior at that hospital have tested positive for HIV, eight for hepatitis C, and one for hepatitis B.

Contact a Florida Lawyer Now

If you or a loved one has been injured while visiting a hospital or other medical center in Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, or West Palm Beach let the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm help. Call or contact the office today for a free and confidential review of your claims. We promise to get you the compensation that you deserve.

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