Is Misdiagnosis of HIV a Form of Medical Malpractice?

Is Misdiagnosis of HIV a Form of Medical Malpractice?

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Since the 1980s, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has been reported in the United States every year following. At the beginning of the HIV and AIDS epidemic, there was fear and fatalities as doctors did not know how to treat this unknown virus. Yet since the 1980s, scientific advances have been made that have allowed people to have access to treatment to live long and healthy lives even with the HIV diagnosis. Today, more than an estimated one million people in the United States are living with HIV, while one in seven people do not know they have the virus. An interactive AIDS map shows that in 2014, Delaware County had about 103 people living with diagnosed HIV.

To help raise awareness about how important it is to get tested for HIV, the National Association of People with AIDS sponsors the National HIV Testing Day on June 27 each year. At the end of June, there are testing sites open and mobile testing units set up all throughout the nation to screen for the virus. If tested positive at one of these sites, medical care, education, and medication resources will be provided for you.

If left untreated, this virus can cause extreme discomfort and even fatalities. However, there are times when HIV can be contracted abnormally, such as from a medical misdiagnosis.

What is Medical Misdiagnosis?

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A medical misdiagnosis is simply the wrong detection of a medical condition. If you are seeking medical advice about an illness or health concern and your healthcare provider misdiagnoses you, there can be serious problems that follow. You may be worsening, seeing a decline in your health, having additional problems arise, and more from a misdiagnosis. Therefore, if you aren’t seeing your health improving after receiving a diagnosis and beginning treatment, consider seeking a second opinion from another doctor. Depending on your case, there may be grounds for a malpractice case.

How HIV Can Be Misdiagnosed

muncie indiana HIV misdiagnosis

This virus is a lifelong condition once contracted that has no cure. Often if you have a virus, your doctor will prescribe you some medication to help treat the cause and heal completely; unfortunately, HIV medication cannot cure a person. It can, however, prolong someone’s life while living with the virus. To understand the virus a little better, an immune virus works by attacking the body’s defense system — the immune system — against sickness. So, HIV continually attacks the immune system, weakening the body’s natural defense against other foreign infections, virus, and objects.

When HIV has been misdiagnosed in the past, it is typically because of clerical error rather than anything else. However, in some cases, a clerical error can be grounds for malpractice depending on the severity of the misdiagnosis and additional medical treatment required. The common ways HIV can be misdiagnosed are:

  • Misread blood tests
  • Mislabeled patient tests
  • Wrongfully filed tests
  • Switched patient files

The Consequences of HIV Being Misdiagnosed

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There are always consequences for a medical misdiagnosis. In the case of a person being told they do not have HIV when they really do, a delay is made in their treatment plan. The only way to provide comfort to a person and prolong their life with HIV is through treatment, as there is no cure. A misdiagnosis can mean discomfort and shortening of their life overall.

However, another important concern is the spread of the virus. One of the most common ways to contract HIV is through intercourse and sharing of used needles. If a misdiagnosed person does not know they have the virus, they can unknowingly pass it on to other people.

In the other case where a person does not have HIV but is told they do, it will be a relief to hear they are actually negative for the virus. However, that person might have already changed their life significantly in ways that may be hard to reverse. Not everyone takes the medication for HIV easily; the side effects might have caused further damage. Not only that but there might also be psychological harm to consider. Even though medical advancements have been made strides since the 1980s, the stigma associated with HIV hasn’t improved with the same leaps and bounds.

Hire a Muncie Medical Malpractice Attorney

Your health should be taken seriously. If you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance where you have been misdiagnosed with HIV, it is your right to see if you have a case for medical malpractice. The way to find out is to seek out the advice of experienced Muncie medical malpractice attorneys. Receive your free consultation today from Hensley Legal Group by calling or contacting us online.

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