Woman Seeks Damages for Medical Debacle
LONGVIEW, Texas (CN) - A Texas woman claims in court that she lost her unborn child after receiving a false HIV diagnosis from a clinic that mislabeled her blood sample.
Susana Valencia sued Good Shepherd Health System dba Good Shepherd Medical Center, Zeid Women's Medical Center, and Dr. Yasser F. Zeid, in Gregg County Court.
Valencia says she was prescribed powerful HIV medication "so that her unborn child might be born HIV negative" but lost the child as a result.
She was later informed she was, in fact, not HIV positive, Valencia says in the complaint.
Valencia was married with two other children at the time, according to her complaint.
She says the erroneous HIV positive diagnosis came after she had lab work done at Zeid Women's Medical Center related to her newly diagnosed pregnancy.
"Subsequently on October 10, 2012, Susana received a disturbing telephone call from the clinic advising her that she needed to return to the clinic to receive her blood test results that came back 'abnormal.' Susana asked several times about the results and the clinic personnel warned her it was very bad and that she should bring someone to the clinic with her when she came to discuss the results," the complaint states.
"Later that same day, Susana returned to the clinic, along with her sister and sister-in-law, to receive the very bad abnormal blood test results. Upon arrival to the clinic, Mrs. Valencia was taken to the counseling room where two ladies were waiting on her, one was a nurse practitioner, Shelley, the other, Tracy, a caseworker from SHRET."
SHRET stands for Special Health Resources of East Texas, a nonprofit agency based in Longview, that provides counseling, testing and outreach to HIV positive people.
The lawsuit continues: "Shelly then told her that her blood work came back as HIV positive. Susana Valencia was stunned, shocked, and in disbelief. Susana had no risk factors for the positive diagnosis. Denying that the results could be true, Susana asked that the test be repeated but was told that they had sent the sample back for a retest and it was also positive. Dr. Zeid refused to draw another sample for testing."
Valencia says she was overcome with feelings "of despair, shame, and suicide. She could not tell her husband or children the news and remained isolate from them fearing she would infect them with the virus."
"The next day Susana, along with her sister, met with the caseworker from SHRET. During that interview, Susana repeated her feelings of hopelessness, disgust, and fear with the caseworker. The caseworker insisted she tell her husband so that he could be tested and prescribed any needed medication. Tracy explained the need for Susana to take all the prescribed medication, even if it made her sick, so that her unborn child might be born HIV negative.
"The medication that would be given would make Susana very ill, even causing hallucinations. The caseworker told Susana the medication was very expensive and was not sure her private insurance would cover the costs. With each piece of information Susana began to panic. During the meeting with the caseworker, Susana met the doctor who would treat her during her pregnancy. The doctor required new blood work to determine the T-Cell count."
After that meeting Valencia was seen once more at Zeid Women's Medical Center for a sonogram, where she was told all of her care would be performed by the HIV doctor, according to the complaint.
"Physically and mentally Susana was sick. She could not eat, had panic attacks, was deeply depressed and continued with suicidal ideations," the complaint states.
"On October 23, 2012, Susana received a call from SHRET and asked to come to their clinic as soon as possible. Unable to think or breathe after vomiting, she called her sister to pick her up and take her to the clinic. Once in the doctor's office, Susana and her sister spoke with the doctor and the casework. The doctor informed Susana that the blood work drawn in their office (SHRET) was negative for the virus and that she in fact was not HIV positive. The doctor repeated the test to confirm Susana was negative for the virus.
"Good Shepherd Medical Center mislabeled the blood samples and results and did not notify Mrs. Valencia of the error. As a result, Mrs. Valencia suffered permanent physical and psychological injuries, as well as the loss of her unborn child, from the medical negligence of defendant's employees and agents."
Valencia seeks punitive damages for negligence and gross negligence.
She is represented by Steven R. Davis of Houston.