Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is frantically searching for a patient who was mistakenly identified as HIV-negative, The New York Times reports.
The Maryland hospital wrongly labelled the patient’s positive HIV-test with the name of someone who was not infected, according to the Times.
The patient whose name was wrongly attached to the positive blood sample was brought in for additional testing and doctors determined they didn’t have HIV, ABC News reports.
Doctors realised the mix-up when they retested the original sample and it again came back positive. It’s not clear if the mix-up happened at the hospital or at the testing center.
The hospital is now re-testing 75 people in an effort to find the patient whose blood sample got mixed up. Of the 79 people the hospital contacted to get re-tested, four have not responded.
Hospital officials are making every effort to contact everyone who might have been affected — they’ve sent certified letters, phoned, and emailed patients who need to get retested, according to ABC.
A person can be infected with HIV for three to 10 years before they start showing symptoms.
Dr. William Schaffner, a medical professor at Vanderbilt University told the Times: “How sure are they that this didn’t happen before?”
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