Jury Awards 12.2 Million for Intern's Needle Stick

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The New Haven Register

December 18, 1997

A jury found the Yale University School of Medicine liable for an intern's contracting AIDS and ordered it to pay $12.2 million. The verdict is believed to be the largest civil award to date in Connecticut.

The intern - called "Dr. Doe" during the trial to protect her anonymity - pricked her thumb while performing a procedure on an AIDS patient at Yale-New Haven Hospital in August 1988. Six weeks after the incident she tested positive for HIV. She was 25 years old at the time.

Doe's attorney, Michael Koskoff, showed the jury that the injury occurred because Doe was improperly trained and unsupervised as she attempted the procedure.

Videotaped testimony by Doe's supervisor showed how she had instructed the intern to complete the medical procedure, insertion of an arterial line. The tape, introduced at the trial by Koskoff, showed the supervisor incorrectly teaching the medical procedure.