Sunday, 12 August 2012

My Local Neighborhood

This is not a story that will be really discussed in the national press very much.  It's an incident that occurred locally here in DC....going back 2005.

"Joe" (my name for the guy)....was dating this gal, and she came up one day to say she'd been tested for HIV, and was identified with the disease.  Joe was worried, and went to be tested.  They actually took two tests of Joe.

The results come back....which are negative, but things get switched around in the paperwork process.....and in the end....some guy at the clinic calls up Joe and tells that he has HIV.

The clinic involved monitored Joe and offered up some mental health help....but they never tested Joe again.

As you can imagine....Joe got depressed.  Joe started to use drugs.  Joe drank excessively.  Joe quit his job.  Joe ended up twice in some suicidal prevention episode.  It's safe to say that Joe was bad off.  Joe might have actually killed himself at any moment.

At some point, Joe got accepted into a treatment program.  At some point, they decided to do another blood test.  It was an odd thing....no HIV noted.  Joe took another test.  Nothing.  So someone apparently started looking at the records down the line, and found that someone had screwed up with the first test deal.

Joe was pretty angry and wanted to sue.  Joe got a lawyer.  For some reason, the Superior Judge in the DC area just didn't buy into 'pain and suffering'.  This case lingered around because no DC judge was really willing to let Joe get his hands onto the hospital.

In 2009, things started to turn around.  His lawyer finally found a judge that would allow the case to go forward.  The clinic involved finally agreed to a $20 million settlement.  I'm guessing Joe's lawyer will get close to a third of this....but Joe ends up with some revengeful for mess that was dumped into his lap.

So you sit there and wonder about this whole mess.  One screw-up.  No secondary round of tests.  A guy giving up on his life but in apparent good health.

This is the kind of movie that ought to be made...because it says alot about the issues and the potential errors of one person creating.  I doubt that it can ever be made into a movie.

As for Joe?  I'm guessing he will pack up and leave DC.  He'll move to somewhere where he can forget about these negative moments.  As for the clinic?  Well....you'd hope that they will fix up their issues.

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