Medical malpractice

Man awarded $18.4 million after doctors completely botched his HIV test

A jury just awarded $18.4 million to a man after his doctors failed to test him for HIV, which later developed into AIDS.

48-year-old Sean Stentiford originally consented to an HIV test back in 2007 after a resident told him he was demonstrating symptoms that were “highly suggestive of HIV infection.”

Neurologist Kinan Hreib disagreed with the resident’s assessment, however, and cancelled the test. But he never bothered telling Stentiford.

When Stentiford later returned to learn the results, internist Stephen Southard told him everything “looked good”, which Stentiford interpreted as meaning the test came back negative.

Three years later, another doctor recommended he get tested. That test came back positive. By then, the disease had progressed to AIDS, causing Stentiford brain damage and cognitive impairment that ultimately ended his career as a lawyer.

“He had a brilliant future in front of him,” his lawyer David Angueira told the jury. “They literally cut the legs out from under him.”

“He lost his job. He lost his career. He lost his life.”

After an emotional eight-day trial in a US District Court, the jury ultimately determined that Southard and Hreib were both negligent in their caring of Stentiford and caused him further injury.

The panel also found that a third doctor, Daniel P. McQuillen, an infectious disease specialist, was also negligent, but his actions didn’t cause Stentiford harm.

Related: Insurance provider slapped with class-action lawsuit after outing 12,000 patients taking HIV meds