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Gay man awarded $18.4m in lawsuit over canceled HIV test

Gay man awarded $18.4m in lawsuit over canceled HIV test

A federal jury in Boston has awarded $18.4 million in damages to a man who alleged his doctors failed to test him for HIV, which later developed into AIDS.

Sean Stentiford, 48, was more susceptible to developing the virus that causes AIDS because he is gay and earlier in his life worked as a paramedic, the Boston Globe reported.

Lahey Hospital, where Stentiford went for tests

Even though he consented to an HIV test in 2007, his doctors never performed one. Around three years later, another doctor recommended the test, which came back positive, Angueira said. By then, the disease progressed to AIDS, causing Stentiford brain damage and ending his career as a lawyer.

‘He had a brilliant future in front of him. They literally cut the legs out from under him,’ the Globe reported Angueira as saying. ‘He lost his job. He lost his career. He lost his life.’

After an eight-day trial in a US District Court, the jury found that two doctors, internist Stephen E. Southard and neurologist Kinan K. Hreib, were negligent in caring for Stentiford and caused him injury, court records showed.

The panel found that a third doctor, Daniel P. McQuillen, an infectious disease specialist, was also negligent, but his actions didn’t cause Stentiford harm.

Stentiford thought HIV test had been included in screen

During the medical malpractice trial, jurors were shown the consent form for HIV testing that Stentiford signed in May 2007 in the presence of his sister as he underwent a battery of tests at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington because he was experiencing facial paralysis, Angueira said.

Stentiford agreed to the testing, his lawsuit said, after a resident told him his symptoms were ‘highly suggestive of HIV infection.’

Hreib disagreed, according to the lawsuit. He noted in Stentiford’s medical record that there was ‘no risk of HIV,’ though testing would be considered.

Hreib canceled the test but never told Stentiford, according to Angueira.

When Stentiford visited the office of Southard, his primary care doctor, in June 2007, he was told his tests ‘looked good,’ according to the lawsuit. Stentiford believed that assessment included HIV testing because he had signed the consent form, the Globe reported.

It was only about three years later, as Stentiford’s condition worsened he learned he was not tested for HIV in 2007, and that he did in fact have the virus. By that time, Stentiford was struggling with brain damage and cognitive impairment.

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