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Local and Community News

South Carolina: $1.1 Million Awarded for False HIV Diagnosis

November 7, 2002

A Richland County, S.C., jury has awarded $1.1 million to Melinda Medlin, a woman who said Palmetto Health Richland Hospital misdiagnosed her with HIV.

Medlin said the diagnosis wrecked her life. "I was so depressed thinking I was going to die a horrible death," she said. "I gave up hope. Now I'm trying to get my life back together. I have lost so much of my life. I thank God everyday for helping me find the mistake."

In her lawsuit, Medlin said the hospital -- then called Richland Memorial Hospital -- diagnosed her as HIV-positive in February 1994. Dr. William Newman III said Medlin was more than 30 weeks pregnant at the time, court papers show. For several years, Medlin said, she took medications, including the drug AZT, her lawsuit said. She said she had no symptoms of the disease, and that another test in 1998 by a different laboratory confirmed she was misdiagnosed 4.5 years earlier. Her condition was reported to "one or more" state or federal agencies, the lawsuit said. Medlin said she suffered "extreme depression, emotional distress, anxiety, fear and other related trauma" because of the misdiagnosis.

A jury agreed with her Tuesday after deliberating about an hour following a two-day trial before Circuit Judge James Barber. In court papers, the hospital contended it did not violate any standard of care. The hospital has asked the judge to reduce the award to $250,000 under the state's Tort Claims Act, which limits damages against public entities. A ruling is pending.

Back to other CDC news for November 7, 2002

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
State (Columbia, S.C.)
11.07.02; Rick Brundrett

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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