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Claim for Wrong Test Result Compensation Still Unresolved

A Dublin woman will have to wait to discover whether her claim for wrong test result compensation will be successful, after a judgement was reserved on her High Court case.

On 17th August 2010, thirty-five year old Michelle Kenny attended St James Hospital in Dublin due to feeling unwell after a holiday in Majorca. At the hospital she underwent a chest x-ray and an ECG, which led doctors to believe that Michelle might have a blood clot on her lung and she was subsequently admitted.

Following her discharge a week later, Michelle attended the hospital´s Outpatients Clinic on October 6th; where she underwent a blood test for tuberculosis and was asked if she would consent to a test for HIV.  Michelle agreed, and the following week the hospital rang her with the blood test results.

After explaining that there was no indication of tuberculosis, the hospital told Michelle that it appeared she was positive for HIV. Michelle was devastated and believed she was going to die. Three further blood tests indicated that she did not have the virus but, according to court papers, she suffered a nervous shock.

Michelle withdrew from her social environment and, after it had been discovered that she had been given the results of somebody else´s blood test in error, contacted a solicitor to see if she was entitled to claim compensation for being given the wrong test results.

The solicitor agreed that Michelle had a case worth pursuing, and on her behalf made a claim for wrong test result compensation against St James Hospital. The hospital contested the claim on the grounds that Michelle had suffered no loss or injury as a result of the error, and the case went before Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon at the High Court.

At the High Court, the judge heard how distressed Michelle had been after being told her blood tests indicated that she was HIV positive, and also evidence from St James hospital that the error had been identified quickly and that Michelle had been advised of the mistake straight away.

Judge O´Hanlon decided that she needed more time to consider the merits of Michelle´s claim for wrong test result compensation and reserved judgement on the claim for a future date yet to be determined.