A positive HIV test is one of the most dreadful discoveries anyone can endure. Although numerous advances have been made in the treatment of the disease, being HIV positive still requires those afflicted to take antiretroviral drugs for the entire duration of their lives.
Standard antiretroviral therapy (ART) consists of the combination of at least three antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV disease. One Jamaican lady will now receive compensation for the turmoil she had to go through after being falsely diagnosed as HIV positive. According to a report by the Gleaner the Government has agreed to compensate a St Andrew woman with just under $9 million for a misdiagnosis that she was HIV-positive.
She however suspects that medication she was treated with nine years ago might have affected her baby, as she was pregnant at the time.
“Well, I think I am satisfied with the outcome of the case, but there are things that are still bothering me because my son was born blind in the left eye as there is no pupil in that eye,” Reid told The Sunday Gleaner.
“I still remember the incident from time to time, and I am not 100 per cent satisfied in certain ways because I can’t get a doctor to say whether the treatment I got because of the false test results caused the blindness in my son’s eye. No one will tell me the truth,” said Reid, adding that her son “is a slow learner and this has been linked to the problem with his sight”.
According to her, it was two years of agony after a government medical official told her that she was HIV-positive in 2005. In 2007, a second test proved that she did not have the virus which causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome, shortened AIDS.
Reid sued the Government in 2009, and last week, acting Supreme Court Judge Audrey Lindo awarded her $8.5 million in damages for negligence, $285,000 for corrective surgery to her abdomen, as she had to undergo a Caesarean section because of the false test result, and $200,000 for future psychiatric expenses.
She was also awarded $44,000 for special damages. Interest was awarded on the sums at three per cent per annum from 2009 to date of payment.
The Government has accepted liability and the case has gone for assessment of damages, which will determine the level of interest to be paid.
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