A blood test error compensation clam, brought by a woman who had mistakenly been told she was HIV positive, remains undecided after a High Court judge reserved judgement on the case.
Michelle Kenny (35) brought her claim for blood test error compensation after attending St James Hospital in Dublin in August 2010, complaining of feeling unwell when returning to work from a vacation in Majorca.
Doctors at the hospital gave Michelle a chest x-ray and an ECG before determining that her symptoms may be attributable to a blood clot on the lung. Michelle was admitted into hospital, where she remained for a week.
On October 6th, Michelle attended the hospital´s Outpatients Department, where a blood sample was taken to test for potential tuberculosis. Michelle also consented to being tested for HIV – quite sure that she did not have the virus.
However, a week later when the hospital telephoned her with the results of her blood test, Michelle was told that she had tested positive for HIV and should return to the Outpatients Department for a re-test to confirm the blood test results.
Michelle told the High Court that she was devastated at the news, believed that she had no future and was going to die. Despite a subsequent blood test confirming that Michelle did not have the HIV virus, she withdrew from social life due to nervous shock.
When it was revealed that the hospital had initially given her the wrong information due to a mix-up between blood test results, Michelle sought legal advice and made a blood test error compensation claim against the hospital for the emotional trauma she had suffered.
The hospital contested the claim on the basis that the mistake had been identified quickly and that Michelle had suffered neither injury nor loss due to the blood test error. Nonetheless, Michelle pursued her claim, and it was heard at the High Court before Judge Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon.
After hearing evidence from both parties, Judge O´Hanlon adjourned the case with a reserved judgement – meaning that she will consider the merits of Michelle´s blood test error compensation claim before delivering a verdict.