A Harlem woman is suing a Brooklyn doctor after he allegedly told her she was HIV-positive, the New York Daily News reports.
The woman was receiving treatment for vitamin B12 deficiencies when she got the shocking news. The doctor, Dr. Pavel Yutsis (pictured above), allegedly delivered the news without the counseling and support she needed–and required by law.
“When he told me I was positive and threw the papers at me, I just went numb,” the woman recalled. “I was no good.”
New York law requires that HIV tests can only be performed after patients receive an explanation and give their consent. Those who test positive must be referred to counseling.
“It’s not about not wanting the results, it’s about her being able to make the decision of where and when she wanted the results,” said Daniel Pepitone, the woman’s lawyer.
That particular clinic, which provided only dietary treatments, was not where she wanted to learn such life-altering information, he added.
“I would have wanted to hear it in a better environment, from someone that I trusted,” said the woman. “I never felt comfortable in that place.”
The lawsuit also alleged that other staff members knew about the results — despite the law’s requirement of confidentiality — and one of them even told her she should get retested.
A receptionist at Lifex said Yutsis could not comment because he is sick and in the hospital.
The plaintiff is asking for damages for “terror, confusion, embarrassment and emotional distress,” according to The Daily News.