Doctors at St. Vincent's Hospital exposed a Washington Heights woman to the HIV virus when they used dirty medical equipment, a lawsuit alleges.
According to the suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, several hours after Milvia Lopez was discharged from the West Village medical center following an echocardiogram — which renders a two-dimensional image of the heart — she received an urgent phone call asking her to return. The hospital even sent her a limo to pick her up, according to the Daily News. When Lopez returned, she claims doctors told her that they inserted an unsterilized scope down her throat and that she had been exposed to the HIV virus as well as hepatitis B and C. Doctors then prescribed her with medicine to treat her exposure and antibiotics to fight off other bacteria, and instructed her to monitor her blood for infection.
The lawsuit — which asks for unspecified damages — doesn't make it clear whether or not Lopez contracted any illnesses or became sick following the June 2007 incident, but she claims she suffered psychological and emotional trauma, lost her hair during HIV treatment, and felt confined to her home in shame. According to the suit, St. Vincent's "engaged in a coverup which included the withholding of relevant medical records." The hospital declined to comment based on patient privacy laws.