Brazen and unjust!
Women misdiagnosed with HIV yet to collect $1 as government appeals $9M award
Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
The mother of a nine-year-old boy who was born blind in the left eye is distressed that she cannot afford to buy him a $17,000 pair of glasses because she is still waiting on the Government to pay her $9 million awarded by the courts.
The Government has challenged the award handed down by the Supreme Court, and while the wheels of justice turn slowly, Karen Reid is struggling to survive after being misdiagnosed as HIV-positive by a state agency when she was pregnant with her son.
Reid sued the Government which accepted liability, and in April the court ordered the State to pay her a total of $9 million with interest.
But in June, the attorney general filed an appeal on the grounds that the award was too high. According to the claim filed in the Court of Appeal, the judge erred in making the award because the medical evidence did not substantiate injuries of such severity as to attract such a high award.
However, an obviously upset Reid has argued that even if the Government is appealing the amount an interim payment should have been made. She told The Sunday Gleaner she believes she is being penalised because it was now five months and she has received no money from the Government.
"I am not working and it is extremely difficult to take care of my family and my son is urgently in need of his glasses. My greatest fear is that if he continues to go without his glasses his sight will be severely affected and could even lead to blindness," the 28-year-old mother said last week.
"I am now making a special appeal for the attorney general to take immediate steps to make some payment so I can purchase the glasses for my son," she said amid tears.
Reid says she suspects that it was the HIV medication she was wrongly treated with nine years ago that might have affected her baby, leaving the boy with no pupil in the left eye.
In an interview with The Sunday Gleaner in April, Reid said: "I still remember the incident from time to time, and I am not 100 per cent satisfied in certain ways because I can't get a doctor to say whether the treatment I got because of the false test results caused the blindness in my son's eye. No one will tell me the truth."
At that time, she noted that her child is a slow learner, and this has been linked to the problem with his sight.