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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Patient Claims Hospital Gave Him AIDS

November 28, 1988
Paterson, N.J.--A patient who has asked that his name remain confidential has sued St. Joseph's Hospital in Paterson, saying the hospital gave him HIV-tainted blood during a 1984 operation. The patient, who has yet to develop AIDS, says that better screening of the 13 pints of blood he received during the open-heart operation would have prevented his infection with HIV. The suit, filed in Superior Court in Hackensack, names the hospital, the hospital's blood bank, and the man's doctor as co-defendants. Across the country, 200 people infected through transfusions have filed similar suits. A blood test for the virus was not available until 1985. None of the people who have filed suit over transfusion-induced AIDS cases have won, says the American Association of Blood Banks. "Everyone was doing what they were supposed to do at the best of their ability, an something happened which was tragic," said Bob Rigney, a lawyer for the blood bank association.