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Woman Wins $2.5M in HIV Misdiagnosis Cases

A jury recently awarded $2.5 million in damages to a Massachusetts woman who was wrongly diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, and underwent years of treatment for the disease.

Audrey Serrano, 45, was misdiagnosed as HIV positive by the Family Practice Clinic in 1994. Serrano went to the HIV clinic at UMass Memorial Medical Center, where she was treated from 1996 through 2003 by Dr. Kwan K. Lai.

In 2003, Serrano visited a different hospital for another HIV test. Her results were negative.

The Lawsuit

Serrano filed a lawsuit against Dr. Lai, claiming that the doctor was negligent for not confirming the diagnosis and that she suffered a variety of mental and physical ailments as a result of the unnecessary treatment.

HIV is treated with a cocktail of drugs, which Serrano said caused her intestinal problems and weight loss.

The doctor testified that she had no reason to question the diagnosis Serrano had received by the Family Practice Clinic.

“Dr. Lai didn’t give her the positive result. She came to Dr. Lai for treatment with the positive result already in place,” said Joanne Gulliford Hoban, attorney for the doctor.

Patient Should Have Been Tested

David P. Angueira, attorney for Serrano, argued otherwise.

“It’s common sense. You test the patient. You don’t accept the patient’s self-diagnosis,” he said.

The clinic where Dr. Lai worked “now has to test everyone that comes to their clinic…that’s what they should have done from day one,” Serrano said.


Victim of a misdiagnosis? Contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney today to learn more about your legal rights.

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