Justice Thoughtfully Spoken: Loose lips sink ships

Our client is a recently widowed young mother whose in-laws learned she is living with HIV after a public health home nurse impermissibly disclosed her status. As a result, the young widow found herself without the financial and emotional support of her in-laws in the days following her husband’s death.

Accidental disclosure is unfortunate and not uncommon, even among the most well-intentioned care providers. Stigma and discrimination are pervasive. The collateral consequences of a disclosure may be far-reaching, regardless of whether the disclosure is intentional or not.

This settlement is a reminder to any care provider to be cautious when discussing a person’s HIV status. Make sure you have specific consent before disclosing that a person is living with HIV. If anyone else is present, stop, think, and obtain consent.

This case settled for an undisclosed amount. Defendants deny liability. Both sides are satisfied with the settlement.