The Harlem Hospital is facing a horrific lawsuit where its staff allegedly misdiagnosed Maria Osorio, 54, as having advanced AIDS as well as hepatitis and herpes. It ruined her marriage and her life until the hospital called to say “opps, you’re perfectly healthy.” She says the hospital never even apologized, but there is still some room for regret. She is suing under negligence and emotional distress. By the way, you will love the explanation of the staff for the later diagnosis of perfect health.
Osorio had responded to a Valentine’s Day offer from the hospital for a $15 mammogram and was offered free screening for HIV performed with a cheek swab and a free blood test. It was then that she was told that she was HIV positive.
She went home and attacked her husband, accusing him of fooling around and bringing home the disease. Gabriel Lezcano Insisted “I’ve been a good man to you. I haven’t been with anyone else. I am a very scrupulous man. I just do my work and I come home.”
They moved into separate rooms and both had trouble sleeping — eventually both of them became addicted to sleeping pills. She decided to commit suicide, she alleges.
Notably, she says that when she called the hospital back to tell them that she had no symptoms for an advanced case of AIDS, she was told “[t]his is a silent disease” and “the machine never lies.”
When she went back to the same nurses who diagnosed her, they insisted it was not negligence but a miracle: “the hand of God had come down to bless me because the machine never lies.” So it is not evidence of gross negligence but divine intervention.
She has turned to a less divine theory in her lawsuit, which says that her marriage is still damaged and there continues to be a loss of consortium due to the stress, anger, and fear caused over the misdiagnosis.
This could lead to a fascinating court fight, particularly the nurse’s claim that it was the hand of God — since the machine never lies but the Almighty heals. There appears to be negligence (miracles are generally not accepted in tort actions). However, the addiction to the sleeping pills will pose an interesting causation question.
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