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Roanoke Woman Sues Hospital, Physicians Over Disclosure of HIV-Positive Status

November 20, 2003

A Roanoke, Va., woman last week filed a lawsuit in Roanoke Circuit Court against Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital and two doctors for allegedly revealing her HIV-positive status, the Roanoke Times reports. The woman, who filed the suit anonymously under the name "Jane Doe," is asking for $750,000 from the hospital and Drs. Samir Chande and Robert Barksdale. The lawsuit alleges that in November 2001, hospital personnel left Doe's medical chart on her bed instead of at the nurses' station, as required by law. A co-worker saw the chart and received confirmation of Doe's HIV status from Barksdale. The lawsuit alleges that in a second incident in May 2003, Chande disclosed Doe's HIV-positive status to a friend of her daughter. David Nixon, Doe's attorney, said that the May incident probably violated new federal medical privacy rules but that he preferred to sue under a state law that prohibits the release of such information. Nixon declined to offer further information on the case, according to the Times. Carilion spokesperson Eric Earnhart said that the hospital had not yet been served with the lawsuit, the Times reports (Dickens, Roanoke Times, 11/18).

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