Looking back, it is incredible how the attitudes and perceptions towards HIV have changed over time. No longer are people stigmatised for their disease and instead, are offered a helping hand.
Yet, the condition is still a serious issue and for those that acquire the virus, it can mean a whole new lifestyle for the patient to manage, especially if they are put on advanced medications. Yet, if someone contracts HIV from a blood transfusion, is this a case for an experienced medical negligence lawyer?
Negligent blood transfusions can lead to serious illness.
What is HIV and how can it affect you?
HIV is a serious diagnosis that can alter everything about someone’s life. A patient that is diagnosed can have serious emotional, physical and psychological effects that impact their lifestyle.
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus and if it left untreated can lead to the AIDS disease (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Unfortunately, unlike other viruses, HIV can never permanently be removed from the human body and is a life-long illness.
Specifically, HIV targets the immune system’s CD4 cells (T cells), which help stave off illness. Consequently, people with HIV are more susceptible to infections or infection-related cancers.
Unfortunately, there is no effective cure for HIV but there are a number of medical treatments that can control HIV. Through treatment from antiretroviral therapy, a person can extend their lives significantly, keeping them healthier for longer and reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus to others.
HIV/AIDS cases in Australia
The rate of HIV infection has slowly increased over the last 12 years, rising from 719 diagnoses in 1999 to nearly 1,200 in 2011. Thankfully, there are very few incidents of AIDS-related deaths in Australia because of the wide availability of mecation.
In New South Wales, the incidence of cases has decreased over the last decade. Between 2002 to 2006, there were 6.1 per cent incidents per every 100,000 people, while from 2007 to 20111, the rate dropped to 5.3 per cent.
Yet, HIV can be contracted in a number of different ways. However, in cases of tainted blood transfusion, there are options to seek compensation through injury lawyers.
Testing blood for viruses is essential.
Duty of care within blood transfusions
Medical practitioners are bound by law to act in the best interest of patients. However, accidents, mistakes stemming from professional oversight do occur and while the medical party may not have intended injury or illness to it nevertheless does occur.
This duty of care means that doctors and other health-care workers must ensure the safety of others during their medical practices. If this is breached, patients can be seriously impacted.
A medical professional’s duty of care relates to a number of practices, one of which is blood transfusions. If these are conducted incorrectly, or the blood being used is not properly screened, it can lead to the contraction of HIV.
Negligence arising from medical acts can result in civil action on behalf of the injured person and even a criminal prosecution pursued by the state. For civil action, if a doctor breaches the duty of care owed to the patient and it leads to harm, a civil suit can result in compensation to the injured party.
If you experienced hardship due to improper actions of medical professionals, it is important to talk to an experienced negligence lawyer. Their expertise and insightful advice can help you understand the possibilities for legal action you can take.
At PK Simpson, we offer a no win, no fee guarantee. As costs can be a major influence in deciding whether to go to court or not, we set out a written costs agreement from the start to ensure you know where you stand, with your costs deducted from a successful settlement.
Contact your compensation experts.