It’s a patient’s worst nightmare. A Harlem woman is suing a doctor for informing her she was HIV positive, the Huffington Post reports.
The 31-year-old woman is identified in the lawsuit as “Jane Doe” to protect her privacy. She said she became a patient of Dr. Pavel Yutsis who violated state law by tricking her into submitting blood for a HIV test without her written authorization.
Most states require written consent before administering an HIV test, and patient counseling if the test comes back positive.
“I was tricked. I never signed any paper,” the woman told DNAinfo.com last week. “It was a slap in the face.”
According to the lawsuit, the woman had undergone gastric-bypass surgery at another clinic when a nutritionist referred her to Dr. Yutsis’ Lifex Medical Care clinic for treatment of a Vitamin B12 deficiency, due to her low red blood count (anemia).
Most healthy people get their vitamin B12 from their diet. When normal treatment failed to elevate her white blood count to within normal range, Dr. Yutsis recommended she take an HIV test to determine the reason for her low white blood count. But since vitamin B12 is not normally associated with the white blood cell count, the woman refused.
She explained to Dr. Yutsis that she was only concerned with healing from her surgery. “I wasn’t really concerned about anything else,” she told DNAinfo.com New York.
On Sept. 9, 2011, Dr. Yutsis’ assistant asked Jane Doe to submit to another blood test. According to the lawsuit, Jane Doe “was unaware that her blood was going to be tested for HIV.”
“She was never asked to sign a form consenting to the test and was not given counseling to prepare her for the administration of an HIV test,” the lawsuit says.
On Sept. 22, Jane Doe was informed by Yutsis that she tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
“My body got numb. I was not good after that,” the woman said. “I was tricked with something I had no clue about.”
Jane Doe claims her test results were not kept confidential. She said her file was left open near where “a group of employees” were chatting.
As she left the doctor’s office, she said she was stopped by one of the employees who tried to console her.
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