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American Woman Sues Doctor For Testing Her Without Her Consent
American Woman Sues Doctor For Testing Her Without Her Consent

A woman who refused to test for HIV is suing her doctor after he tested her without her consent.

The 31-year-old woman claims Dr. Pavel Yutsis violated state law by testing her without her consent and then delivering the devastating results even though the revelation likely benefited her health.

"I was tricked. I never signed any paper," the woman, who filed her lawsuit as "Jane Doe" to protect her privacy, told DNAinfo.com last week. "It was a slap in the face."

Jane Doe became a patient of Yutsis during the summer of 2011, according to the lawsuit filed last month in Brooklyn Supreme Court. She had been recovering from recent gastric-bypass surgery when a nutritionist recommended she go to Yutsis's Sheepshead Bay clinic, Lifex Medical Care, for treatment of a Vitamin B12 deficiency.

After a number of visits she still showed shortage of white bloodcells and Yutsis suggested she take an HIV test, but she declined, explaining she was only focused on healing from her surgery, the lawsuit says.

On Sept. 9, 2011, a Yutsis assistant told Jane Doe that she needed to draw more blood for testing. She assumed it was to see if the treatment had worked and "was unaware that her blood was going to be tested for HIV," the lawsuit says.

"She was never asked to sign a form consenting to the test and was not given counseling to prepare her for the administration of an HIV test," the lawsuit says.

On her next visit she claims the doctor told her she tested positive for HIV and she claims the news made her dumbfounded.

As she left Yutsis' office, she also learned the results were not kept confidential, the lawsuit says. A group of employees had allegedly been chatting with her file open. One of them allegedly stopped the woman and tried to hearten her by noting that sometimes another HIV test shows the initial results were wrong.

New York public health law requires that the patient provide written consent for a doctor to administer an HIV test. This courtesy wasn’t extended to Doe. And to add insult to injury she claims that other staff members in the office were discussing her HIV results.

Jane Doe's lawyer, Daniel Pepitone, said he understands the health benefit of testing for the infection, but said Yutsis violated his client's right to choose.

"These are personal choices that the law has specifically carved out to make the specific decision," Pepitone said. "We're all aware of the value of finding out, but she has her own reasons. We need to protect her rights under the law."

Jane Doe said she has since gone to another clinic, where she consented to an HIV test that was administered correctly. The test also showed she is HIV positive.

When asked whether Yutsis's disclosure benefited her health, she simply said it wasn't his place to decide.

Source

One could argue that this woman’s morals are low because what the doctor did benefited her health and could have prevented her infecting more people with HIV, but the law is the law, if she did not give consent the doctor is on the wrong and could be prosecuted.

Moral of the story. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.

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