LifeSouth faces lawsuit after man contracts HIV - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

LifeSouth faces lawsuit after man contracts HIV

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

A Montgomery law firm is filing suit against LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, lobbing a very serious accusation that calls into question the safety of the center's blood supply.

Beasley Allen law firm is representing a man who they say received blood infected with HIV during a coronary bypass surgery. The lawsuit accuses LifeSouth of supplying the blood that was used in the treatment of a patient identified as Howard Midkiff.

The law firm says Midkiff has since contracted HIV.

Kim Kinsell, General Councel for LifeSouth, when asked for comment said, "We don't have any statement when involved in litigation."

The lawsuit alleges the blood contaminated with HIV was collected by LifeSouth in Dale County, Ala., from "John Doe" on October 14, 2010. Four days later, Midkiff was admitted to Baptist Medical Center in Montgomery where he received a coronary bypass grafting in which blood from LifeSouth was alleged to have been used.

Beasley Allen says LifeSouth discovered in May 2011 that the distributed blood products tested positive for HIV and notified Baptist Medical Center. After blood testing in June 2011, Mr. Midkiff was diagnosed as being HIV-positive. 

The lawsuit claims LifeSouth, a Gainsville, Florida based company, negligently provided blood infected with HIV, and negligently designed and/or failed to implement reasonable screening, handling and testing procedures that could have prevented the dissemination of blood contaminated with HIV.

LifeSouth operates 61 blood centers across Alabama.

A spokeswoman for the Baptist Health hospital system where the transfusion was given told the Associated Press Midkiff is the only one believed to have been given blood from the donor in question. She says they have never experienced a case like this before and don't expect to in the future.

Copyright 2012  WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed.

Blood donation facts...

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Each day life-saving blood transfusions are needed in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities across the U.S. There are more than 9.5 million blood donors in the United States and an estimated

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