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19-Jan-18 – A syringe used on an HIV-positive patient was mistakenly re-used on another patient at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, according to a lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.

A Chicago-area resident, identified in the lawsuit as “John Doe,” says he was at Northwestern for outpatient hernia surgery about one year ago. He was told of the incident during a follow-up visit ten days later but not that the syringe had previously been used on a patient who had HIV.

When hospital personnel admitted the potential exposure a month later, according to the complaint, they offered to pay for blood tests and screening for HIV, and advised him to use a condom during sex.

The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday by the man’s attorney, Shawn Kasserman of Tomaski Kotin Kasserman. It alleges battery and reckless endangerment, and accuses the hospital of fraudulently concealing the possible HIV exposure.

Shawn Kasserman “Uncovering the facts of this case, it’s become clear that Northwestern Memorial Hospital knew right away – during the surgery – that they had potentially exposed the patient to HIV,” says Kasserman (left), “but instead of informing him of the mistake and outlining his options for treatment, they said nothing and sent him home.”

Kasserman says his client is a “well-educated, high-achieving professional.”

The man has not tested positive for HIV but, says Kasserman, still must live with “the physical and emotional distress of the exposure and the loss of trust in the doctors and hospital responsible for his care.”