Failure to Diagnose HIV
HIV is a devastating disease that, if left untreated, eventually leads to AIDS. Fortunately, with advances in health care over the past several decades, people with HIV can lead long and healthy lives. If HIV is permitted to progress to AIDs, though, it will most likely cause fatal complications. As such, a timely and correct diagnosis is key to a good outcome. Tragically, however, it is not uncommon for people to suffer harm due to their doctor’s failure to diagnose HIV. If you suffered injuries due to a delayed or missed HIV diagnosis, you should speak to an attorney regarding your potential claims. At Arfaa Law Group, our dedicated Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys are mindful of the catastrophic losses a delayed HIV diagnosis can cause, and if we represent you, we will fight to help you seek justice.Harm Caused by the Failure to Diagnose HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is a virus that causes a person’s body to attack its own immune system. HIV is a retrovirus, which means that it has RNA rather than DNA, which it copies onto the DNA of the host cell, changing its genome. Retroviruses cannot be cured, but they can be managed. HIV causes symptoms similar to many other less serious ailments, like fevers, aches and pains, fatigue, unintentional weight loss, rashes, and swollen lymph nodes. If a patient reports with these symptoms, a doctor should perform a blood test to rule out an HIV diagnosis.
If left untreated, HIV causes AIDS over time. While AIDs itself is not fatal, it causes a progressive failure of the immune system that allows life-threatening infections to thrive. Without treatment, people with HIV are expected to live an average of 10 years. With treatment, however, they can avoid the progression to HIV and live for decades after their diagnosis.Elements of Lawsuits Arising Out of the Failure to Diagnose HIV
Doctors who fail to diagnose HIV may be liable for medical malpractice. Typically, a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case will assert a negligence claim against the defendant. In Maryland, to establish the negligence of a defendant that is a health care provider, a plaintiff first must prove the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty and that the defendant breached the duty owed. With regard to medical care, the duty a doctor owes their patient is to abide by the standard of care, which is the care that a reasonable practitioner working in the same specialty would offer in the same situation.
Any actions or omissions that depart from the treatment dictated by the standard constitute a breach. As the standard of care that applies to doctors is not within the understanding of the average judge or jury, a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case will usually need to hire an expert to explain the standard and the ways in which the defendant failed to uphold it.
Even if a plaintiff establishes the duty owed and a breach of that duty, they cannot recover compensation unless they also prove causation and damages. In other words, they must show that the defendant’s breach proximately caused them to suffer quantifiable harm. Typically, establishing a causal link and damages requires expert testimony as well.Consult a Skillful Baltimore Attorney
People who contracted HIV used to have no hope for survival, but thanks to improved treatments, people who are diagnosed in a timely manner often can lead typical lives. If you suffered damages due to a doctor’s failure to diagnose HIV, it is advisable to contact an attorney to discuss your options for pursuing compensation. The skillful Baltimore lawyers of Arfaa Law Group are well-versed in what it takes to establish liability in medical malpractice lawsuits, and if you hire us, we will zealously seek the best legal outcome possible under the facts of your case. We have an office in Baltimore where we regularly help people pursue medical malpractice claims. You can reach us by calling 410-889-1850 or using our online form to set up a confidential and free meeting.