Visitor Question

Legal claim for failing to diagnose a sexually transmitted disease?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Massachusetts)

I’m wondering if I can sue my school health services if they refused to tell me that I had a form of sexually transmitted disease. I had the STD for a couple of months without knowing. I had gone to the school health office but they didn’t contact me when the results came, so I had no way of knowing whether I was negative or positive.

However a couple of months later, I had symptoms and I went to my primary care doctor’s office. I told them about my symptoms and I was tested for any STDs. It turns out that I had one.

My question is, can I sue for emotional stress because I’m scared about this incident and the school health office was negligent in not telling me? What if I had a serious illness and they failed to see it? I could be spreading things unknowingly and maybe other people are victims as well. Can I pursue any legal claims? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

According to the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services, when it comes to the issue of notifying persons(s) who have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD), there are no laws in Massachusetts that mandate physicians to act on a sense of duty to warn.

According to the American Journal of Medicine, each year up to 15 percent of patients suffer needlessly as a result of wrong diagnoses, which include misdiagnoses and delayed diagnoses.

A wrong diagnosis is considered medical malpractice if the doctor’s actions “deviated from the medical standard of care” of similarly trained doctors. And, if as a result of the misdiagnosis (or failure to diagnose), the patient suffers needlessly and has real damages.

Fortunately for you, it appears you haven’t suffered any injuries or related illness as a result of a failure to diagnose. In Massachusetts, emotional distress resulting from a failure to notify a patient he or she has contracted an STD is not sufficient grounds to support a legitimate claim for medical malpractice.

Here’s more about liability in medical malpractice cases.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: June 15, 2017

How Much is Your Injury Claim Worth?

Find out now with a FREE case review from an attorney…

  • Your Accident
  • Your Claim
  • Contact Info
  • Your Evaluation

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *