Doctors won’t face lawsuit for alleged slowness in diagnosing couple’s HIV
A Fraser Valley couple have failed in their attempt to sue two doctors for negligence because they allegedly failed to diagnose their HIV in a timely manner.
The BC Supreme Court judgment against Brian Carlisle and Shannon Francis McKee was released last week. The couple alleged that because Dr. David Singleton and Dr. Melanie Madill did not diagnose Carlisle’s HIV soon enough, Carlisle unknowingly infected his wife.
Singleton treated Carlisle for a variety of illnesses, from strep throat to glaucoma, between December 1999 and August 2001.
Madill saw Carlisle once in January 2002 for muscle contractions and flu-like symptoms and referred him to a neurological specialist.
Carlisle was diagnosed with HIV after another doctor treated him for a recurring leg infection and ordered a number of tests related to his immune system function.
Madill saw McKee one time in July 2002, the day after Carlisle was diagnosed with HIV. Madill tested McKee for HIV, with a positive result.
The doctors applied to have the action dismissed because there was no breach in their standard of care.
The lawsuit was filed in 2006 and Justice Deborah Kloegman wrote in her reasons for judgment that Carlisle and McKee have not actively pursued their case. For example, in 2006 they were given 90 days to gather expert evidence, but such evidence has still not been tendered.
Kloegman said she dismissed the charges because not only have the plaintiffs failed to establish liability, the evidence presented exonerates Singleton and Madill.
“One cannot help but feel empathy for these plaintiffs who suffer from such a dreaded disease, but the law must be applied evenly and fairly to both sides. The defendant doctors are entitled, at some point, to have this matter adjudicated upon. That time has now arrived,” Kloegman wrote.