A former employee of University Hospitals in Iowa City is suing the state for telling her insurance company she was exposed to HIV while drawing blood from a patient in 2001. Because the injury was covered under workmen's compensation, there was no need to report the test to her insurer, according to the woman's lawsuit. The release of the information may damage the woman's future ability to get affordable health care, the suit contends.
The woman, who was employed as a phlebotomist, was drawing blood from a patient when a glass collection tube shattered. A piece of glass pierced the woman's hand through a latex glove. The accident caused the woman to be exposed to the blood of the patient, who was infected with HIV and hepatitis C, the suit states. The woman tested negative for HIV and signed a form barring the hospital from releasing information about the test to her insurance company. The suit states that an unknown employee or employees at the hospital submitted the claim to the woman's insurance provider, which denied the claim on October 8, 2002. She is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.