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Cancer Patient got HIV from Clinic, Lawsuit Claims

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. | Last updated on

Federal authorities arrested Dr. Meera Sachdeva in August and indicted her on 15 counts of Medicare and Medicaid fraud. She's accused of diluting cancer drugs and reusing needles at the Rose Cancer Center in Summit, Miss.

When the clinic was closed in July, the Health Department urged patients to get screened for Hepatitis B and C and HIV. There have been no reports of positive results -- until now.

The family of James Ralph Patterson Sr. has filed a lawsuit against the doctor claiming that he contracted HIV from the clinic.

Patterson was being treated at the facility for lung and brain cancer, reports the Associated Press. Before he died in July, he had contracted HIV. The infection allegedly weakened his immune system, contributing to his death.

The lawsuit requests $500,000 in actual damages and an unspecified amount in punitive damages. That amount will greatly depend on whether Meera Sachdeva is convicted, according to a statement made by the Patterson's attorney.

This is because Mississippi has capped punitive damages in a unique way. Punitive damage awards are based on a defendant's net worth. For example, defendants worth between $50 million and $100 million cannot be made to pay more than $2.5 million in punitive damages.

That is, unless they were convicted of a felony for the conduct that caused the injury.

Meera Sachdeva falls into the cap category that limits punitive damages to 2% of her net worth. If she's convicted of Medicare and Medicaid fraud, that limit won't apply. If the government doesn't first seize all of her money, the Pattersons could end up taking all that she's worth.

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