Oklahoma Man Awarded $1.4 Million After Receiving ‘Erroneous’ HIV Test Results in 1993
An Oklahoma man who was "wrongfully" told by an Oklahoma City-County Health Department clinic in 1993 that he was HIV-positive was awarded almost $1.4 million in an Oklahoma County District Court on Wednesday, the Daily Oklahoman reports. Anthony Northcutt was told that he was HIV-positive by Pontotoc County Health Department officials in July 1993 and again in September 1993 by Oklahoma City-County Health Department's Health Maintenance Clinic, which is no longer open. However, after obtaining his own file from the health department in 1997, Northcutt found that the test results he had received were "erroneous and that he had actually tested negative." Records were not available from his Pontotoc County health file because the clinic has since closed. Northcutt, who did test HIV-positive in 1997 after discovering the error, sued the Oklahoma City-County Health Department for negligence, requesting compensation for his "emotional stress" and "actual damages." Northcutt claimed that after being told he was HIV-positive, he attempted suicide, abused alcohol and had unprotected sex with HIV-positive partners. "I'm shocked at the amount [of the award]. It's not what I had expected," Rick Healy, attorney for the health department, said. Northcutt's attorneys did not comment on the verdict. The jury found that the Pontotoc County Health Department was also negligent, but it was not a party in the lawsuit. Northcutt himself was also found to be partially negligent (Baldwin, Daily Oklahoman, 1/17).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.