Brooklyn Woman Sues Hospital, Claims They Falsely Told Her She Was HIV-Positive

A series of HIV tests
Stephen Chernin / Getty Images

A Brooklyn woman is suing a hospital after she said the hospital falsely told her she was HIV positive — repeatedly — which she said led to unnecessary medical treatment and a lack of intimacy in her marriage.

The lawsuit claimed that Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital told the woman, Sandra Peralta, that she was HIV-positive after she went in for a test in March 2016. As The New York Post reported, the test had initially come back positive, but two more rounds of bloodwork showed that she was, in fact, negative. But the hospital still told Peralta that she had HIV.

Peralta spoke to a hospital employee who said she had HIV, and she was told the same thing after calling the hospital again to confirm. Peralta said she then underwent medical procedures to address what she thought was HIV and that she “suffered a loss of marital intimacy” as a result.

It wasn’t until later that Peralta learned she was actually HIV-negative. Her story and her lawsuit are now gaining some viral attention, with The New York Post highlighting what appeared to be a frustrating and life-changing misdiagnosis.

The woman’s story came out just days after a development hailed as a potentially game-changing breakthrough for the treatment of HIV. Media reports indicated that a Berlin patient who was seemingly cured of the infection, more than a decade after another individual, called the London patient, had a similar breakthrough.

As Forbes later reported, medical researchers at Seattle’s Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections revealed that there was a third patient who saw a similar change in HIV status.

Through the three cases, scientists learned that there is a potential cure for HIV through a radical procedure to destroy a patient’s existing immune system, which is done through the introduction of the HIV-resistant CCR5 gene. This process allows immune cells to create an entirely new immune system that does not allow for HIV to live and thrive.

If both of the new cases can be confirmed to show the same results, scientists believe that a bone marrow stem cell transplant that kicked off the new immune system can be seen as a cure for HIV, though researchers would have to find a more viable way to go about it as the process to destroy the immune system is seen as dangerous and quite risky.

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A representative for Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital said that it had not received a complaint from the patient who claims she was falsely diagnosed as HIV-positive.