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Pennsylvania-based company being sued for misdiagnosis

A Washington woman has filed a lawsuit against Pennsylvania-based company BioLife Plasma Services for falsely telling her that she had HIV and hepatitis. The woman is suing the plasma donation company for $10,000, stating that the misdiagnosis led to a nightmare ordeal lasting 10 days. Biolife allegedly used 100 samples of blood that had been pooled for processing in order to make the diagnosis. The woman states that the mistake left her in a state of debilitating emotional distress.

The woman had been donating plasma to Biolife for around six months when the medical blunder occurred. In March 2013, a blood test performed by the company did not reveal any communicable diseases. However, when her blood was mixed with other samples and prepared for sale, a test revealed that the mixture was positive for HIV, as well as hepatitis B and C. Hepatitis is a communicable disease that attacks the liver, and there is no known cure for any of the ailments.

The woman was told that she had the diseases when she attempted to donate plasma the following month. Technicians told her that she had been removed from consideration and put on an international list that named rejected donors. She immediately went to her physician to take tests that later indicated the diagnosis to be a false positive. BioLife eventually sent the woman a letter stating that they believed they had made a mistake.

The lawsuit states that the woman was defamed because her name was placed on the donor rejection list. Also, the woman was concerned about her grandson who may have made contact with a leg wound she had. The misdiagnosis prompted an uncomfortable conversation with the woman's fiance as well.

While mistakes happen, nobody should have to suffer the mental anguish that comes from a harrowing misdiagnosis. The courts will ultimately have to decide if the woman in this case deserves the amount that she is requesting. Either way, she was right to at least seek legal advice in the matter.

Source: spokesman.com, "Spokane plasma donor sues over false hepatitis, HIV diagnoses" Kip Hill, Dec. 26, 2013

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