Doctor sued over false positive HIV test

A woman says she suffered severe emotional distress when a blood testing agency mistakenly told her she had HIV.

Ashley McCoy filed a lawsuit Jan. 12 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Dr. Michael E. Herrmann and Quest Diagnostics.

McCoy claims Herrmann ordered an HIV blood test for McCoy, and on April 22, 2006, Quest Diagnostics conducted the test. Later, Quest Diagnostics confirmed that McCoy did have HIV, according to the complaint.

Both Herrmann and Quest made oral and written statements to others at SLUCare Physicians of St. Louis University about McCoy's alleged HIV, the complaint says

However, McCoy visited ARUP Laboratory for a re-test on Feb. 2. Employees there discovered she did not have the deadly disease, the suit states.

"That the statements and test results were untrue, malicious, unfounded and accused the Plaintiff, Ashley McCoy, of having an infamous disease," the complaint says. "That the statements and test results were slander, liable and defamatory creating an assumption that was hurtful to the Plaintiff's reputation."

Because of her false test results, McCoy claims she suffered severe emotional injuries, including depression, loss of reputation and great emotional pain. In addition, she was required to leave work and receive medical treatment and is still treating with a psychologist and psychiatrist, according to the complaint.

She blames Quest Diagnostics for diagnosing her with a mistaken condition, saying the company negligently failed to properly label its incoming and outgoing blood specimens, failed to provide proper tests and published the wrong results to Herrmann.

In her five-count suit, McCoy seeks a judgment of more than $250,000, plus costs.

Paul M. Storment Jr. of Belleville will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-12.

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