Swiss doctor sentenced for failing to tell patient of HIV status

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com November 28 2002 12:00 AM ET

A former doctor in Zurich who failed to tell a patient that he was infected with HIV received a suspended jail sentence from a Swiss court last week. The former chief of staff of a regional hospital said he had been trying to shelter the patient by not telling him in 1993 that he was infected with the AIDS virus, which he discovered during an operation on the man. The patient was again admitted to the hospital in 1998, this time suffering from AIDS-related symptoms. The court ruled the doctor had shirked his duty by neglecting to tell the man of his infection in 1993 and handed down a seven-month suspended sentence.

The case caused a scandal when media reports first surfaced in 1999, causing three doctors to quit. Two other physicians have been charged with grievous bodily harm and other crimes.