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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Widow Can Sue Clinic Over HIV Test Results

(CN) - The Idaho Supreme Court ruled that a woman can go to trial with a wrongful death suit against a fertility clinic that misinformed her husband about his HIV status, possibly leading to his suicide.

Rebecca and Curt Cramer visited the Idaho Center for Reproductive Medicine for an attempt at in vitro fertilization, which ultimately failed.

During the process, both Cramers were found to be HIV-negative, despite the fact that Curt had previously tested positive.

Curt went to his physician for a second test, which came back positive. When he took a third test, he was told that negative results come back in a couple of days, while positive results take longer.

When Curt called back in three days, his doctor did not have a result for him. Curt jumped off a cliff to his death.

Rebecca sued the clinic for wrongful death and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court ruled that Curt's suicide superceded all liability claims against the clinic.

Justice Jones reversed the decision, ruling that the false negative could have led to Curt's suicidal ideation once he was informed that he was in fact HIV-positive.

"The district court failed to note the possibility that if a person is informed that he is HIV-negative and is subsequently informed that he is HIV-positive," Jones wrote, "that the person may conclude that he contracted HIV within the interim."

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