A federal jury has awarded $18.4 million in damages to a man who said in a lawsuit that two doctors failed to test him for HIV, which allowed the virus to progress to AIDS.


Medical malpractice errors are responsible for thousands of deaths and injuries every year. Although healthcare providers have access to more medical devices, diagnostic tests and drugs than ever before, there remains a high rate of medical malpractice around the country, affecting thousands of unsuspecting patients who place their trust in their doctors, nurses, and hospitals.

A US District Court jury announced a verdict in a medical malpractice case awarding Sean Stentiford $18,400,000 against two doctors associated with Lahey Clinic. The two physicians, Dr. Southard and Dr. Hreib attended to Mr. Stentiford while he was a patient at the Lahey Clinic. Mr. Stentiford was a gay man who had complained to his physicians about illnesses and symptoms consistent with HIV infection. David Angueira (lead trial counsel) and his law partner, James Swartz, hope that this judgment will send a message to this nation’s medical practitioners that the gay community can no longer be ignored, and that HIV infection is a pandemic that affects everyone.

Since 2006, the Centers for Disease Control had recommended HIV screening of all patients from the age of 13 to 64 be implemented immediately and that all high-risk patients should be tested at least annually. Despite these clear recommendations and the rationale behind them to minimize the spread of this deadly disease nationwide Lahey clinic and its physicians completely ignored the CDC recommendations and did not provide HIV screening and/or testing for Mr. Stentiford.

This victory by the team at Swartz & Swartz was seen on NBC News, AP News, CBS, Newsweek and many more significant media outlets.

While Mr. Stentiford was an inpatient at the Lahey Clinic hospital, a resident at Lahey Clinic advised him that his symptoms were highly suggestive of HIV infection and despite having signed a written consent for the HIV test, the defendant Dr. Hreib chose to cancel the test and
never advised the patient that the test had been canceled. As a result, Mr. Stentiford continued to progress to the advanced stage of HIV infection including AIDS, suffering permanent brain damage and destroying his career as a lawyer.

This will hopefully be a signal to the medical community that the CDC recommendations regarding the screening and testing for HIV is an imminent public health matter that must be attended to by medical professionals nationwide.

Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice and would like to speak with a medical malpractice attorney, please contact us. Our lawyers are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights. Call our Boston, Massachusetts office at (617) 742-1900, or toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.


James Swartz, our Managing and Principal Attorney at Swartz & Swartz P.C., is a nationally recognized and respected trial attorney as well as consumer advocate. His practice focuses on cases involving negligence, torts, products liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and other claims involving catastrophic injuries.



Need Help?

If you or someone you know, needs help from a lawyer, contact the law offices of Swartz & Swartz, use our live chat, or send us a message using the form below and we’ll get in touch to assess your case and how we can help.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.