Thursday 23 November 2017

Hospital under fire over HIV test mix-up

Michelle Kenny
Michelle Kenny

Tim Healy

A HOSPITAL adopted an "extraordinary position" by contending a woman was not entitled to damages after being told in error she had tested positive for HIV, the High Court heard.

A lawyer for Michelle Kenny, who has sued St James's in Dublin for nervous shock, said his client was "considerably irritated" at the approach of the hospital in court and it undermined its admission of liability in the case.

Senior counsel Finbarr Fox said he was amazed at the approach adopted by St James's that his client was not entitled to damages.

"She was expressly told by an employee of the hospital she had contracted HIV, one of the most alarming diseases of our era," he said.

In submissions to Ms Justice Bronagh O'Hanlon yesterday, counsel asked the judge to take into account the conduct of the hospital in court when assessing damages.

The judge has reserved her decision.

Ms Kenny (35), from Crumlin in Dublin, who works as a clerical officer in the same hospital, St James's, has told the court of her devastation when she was given a HIV positive test result after her blood test was mixed up with that of another person.

The hospital admitted it had mixed up two blood samples.

David McGuinness, for the hospital, yesterday submitted to the court that Ms Kenny did not suffer loss or damage.

She was told quickly after the wrong result that she did not have HIV, he said. "The hospital has acknowledged the breach of duty but she is not entitled to damages," he said.

Irish Independent

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