Um, that blood test 8 years ago? It was wrong! You don't have HIV! Congratulations!

8 years ago. Jim Malone went to a VA clinic after testing positive for HIV. His doctor retested him and started him on a monitoring program. Malone told his family, who by and large disowned him. He joined a support group and waited to die.

Turns out the retest, and apparently all subsequent tests, came out negative. But no one told Malone. I can’t really get a handle on how this happened.

According to this NBC story,

But this local TV story says different.

And stranger still, this AP story claims the error was found by a computer audit of HIV cases that apparently flagged some type of data conflicts.

Very, very strange. What was the doctor doing and saying all those years?

“That’s pretty fucked up.” -Mrsrobgruver

I couldn’t agree more. So now he gets to call his family with the ‘good’ news… Amazing story, and a slightly scary one.

That is awful :frowning:

I was on HIV meds for three days and I felt like I’d been run over by a truck. I can’t imagine how physically bad this poor man has felt, having been on no telling how many medications for 8 years, not even counting the emotional toll!

There’s no excuse for this, period. How the hell did nobody notice that he was repeatedly testing NEGATIVE?!?!?!?!

/Paralegal mode ON

I hope he finds himself a mean lawyer and gets one hell of a settlement!


Abby it says he was never given any medications for HIV infection in the quote from the TV news story.

At the very least he needs to be reimbursed for eight years of medical fees.


I am not a vengeful or litigous person by nature but if I were Jim Malone, I would try with every ounce of my being to make sure that that doctor is bankrupted and made into a pariah within the medical community.

Eight years? Eight YEARS? Holy hell. I’m reeling and I’m not the least bit involved. I can’t imagine how he must feel.

Because it was the VA, he probably has little recourse for litigation. I’m sure the government has limits on what they can be sued for. Unfortunately.


Hm. Okay I’m really going to stretch here for plausibility but…

The VA hospital didn’t make the original mistaken diagnosis.

And here if you get some kind of test, you usually aren’t called unless something is wrong. For important life or death things they usually call you anyway so you don’t rip your hair out wondering “Are the results back??? Are the results back???”

But maaaaybe (and it’s still pretty unlikely). When the nurses/staff/whoever got the test results back and they saw “normal” they just stuck it in the “to file” pile of stuff.

If the doctor had a big patient load he might never have thought to mention anything because it wasn’t in the “uh-oh, call the patient!” pile of stuff.

Again, it’s really reaching.

Nah, forget it! It’s reaching too much. It’s too :dubious:

But didn’t Malone ever ask “Why am I not on medication? I keep reading about drug cocktails and stuff. How come you haven’t given me any prescription?”

If I was diagnosed with something THAT significant, I’d read up like crazy. If I felt like I wasn’t being treated I’d ask why, why, why? Malone attended support groups, lost friends to AIDS, so I would expect that he’d have some familiarity or expectations HIV treatment. But he never questioned why he wasn’t being treated for HIV like anyone else? That’s weird too.

If I had Tumor X, and everyone else in my support group with Tumor X was getting chemo except me, I’d ask “Hey, Doc. Why am I the only one not getting chemo for Tumor X?” Weird all around.

Why would he want to call his assinine family that disowned him for the perception of a disease?

Unless it was to tell them about the mistake of the lab, their mistake, and to FOAD.

That guy should have read Calculated Risks. Of course, it probably wasn’t published at the time, but you get the point. Definately a book worth reading.