Plaintiff v. Defendant Rheumatologist

Synopsis:

DBMS successfully secured a dismissal on behalf of a defendant rheumatologist involved in a case in which a woman accused multiple doctors of failing to timely diagnose her with AIDS.

During a May 2011 hospitalization, two co-defendant specialists not represented by DBMS assessed the plaintiff, who was then in her 30s, and diagnosed her with lupus. The plaintiff was in and out of the hospital for more than 18 months following this diagnosis.

In June 2012, DBMS’s defendant rheumatologist saw the plaintiff for the first time and again when she was readmitted a week later. The defendant saw her four additional times in his office through October 2012.

In November 2012, the plaintiff was hospitalized with MRSA pneumonia and evaluated by a different team of doctors who had difficulty determining its cause. An infectious disease team tested her for HIV, and she was subsequently diagnosed with AIDS. Experts determined that the plaintiff had HIV as far back as 2005, as she had tested negative for HIV in 2003.

The plaintiff’s counsel claimed that she was not diagnosed with HIV or AIDS in a timely manner, which resulted in cognitive and physical disabilities that have required her to receive nursing home care since April 2012.

DBMS contended that the plaintiff reported no risk factors and exhibited no opportunistic infections that would indicate HIV or AIDS. The plaintiff showed symptoms of other infections, and over the course of her treatment since 2011 a number of AIDS specialists had examined her and did not suspect the disease. DBMS also showed evidence that harm from the plaintiff’s misdiagnosis occurred before the defendant rheumatologist was involved.

After DBMS presented multiple experts who gave testimony damaging to the plaintiff’s theories, the defendant rheumatologist was dismissed from the case.