A US District Court jury announced a verdict in a medical malpractice case awarding Sean
Stentiford $18,400,000 against two doctors associated with Lahey Clinic. The two physicians,
Dr. Southard and Dr. Hreib attended to Mr. Stentiford while he was a patient at the Lahey Clinic.
Mr. Stentiford was a gay man who had complained to his physicians about illnesses and
symptoms consistent with HIV infection. David Angueira (lead trial counsel) and his law
partner, James Swartz, hope that this judgment will send a message to this
nation’s medical practitioners that the gay community can no longer be ignored, and that HIV
infection is a pandemic that affects everyone.
Since 2006, the Centers for Disease Control had recommended HIV screening of all patients
from the age of 13 to 64 be implemented immediately and that all high-risk patients should be
tested at least annually. Despite these clear recommendations and the rationale behind them to
minimize the spread of this deadly disease nationwide Lahey clinic and its physicians completely
ignored the CDC recommendations and did not provide HIV screening and/or testing for Mr.
While Mr. Stentiford was an inpatient at the Lahey Clinic hospital, a resident at Lahey Clinic
advised him that his symptoms were highly suggestive of HIV infection and despite having
signed a written consent for the HIV test, the defendant Dr. Hreib chose to cancel the test and
never advised the patient that the test had been canceled. As a result, Mr. Stentiford continued to progress to the advanced stage of HIV infection including AIDS, suffering permanent brain damage and destroying his career as a lawyer.
This will hopefully be a signal to the medical community that the CDC recommendations
regarding the screening and testing for HIV is an imminent public health matter that must be
attended to by medical professionals nationwide.
Click here to view James Swartz’s profile.