NEW YORK — An out-of-court settlement was reached today in the case of a 32-year-old Argentine-born doctor with less than a year to live after she claimed she was accidentally pricked with an AIDS-infected needle.
In a possibly precedent-setting case involving medical workers who contract AIDS, Dr. Veronica Prego had sought $175 million in a negligence suit against a city hospital.
But an economist testified during the trial that her lifetime earnings would have been about $20 million to $30 million.
The terms of the settlement were not announced on the orders of the judge in the case.
Judge Aaron Bernstein of the New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn announced that a settlement had been reached two hours after summations were to have started in the two-month-long trial and the case was to have gone to the jury.
In dismissing the jurors, Bernstein told them: "You made this settlement possible."
He placed a gag order on the parties in the case, telling them that they must not reveal the terms of the settlement.
"It is no one's business except the person paying and the person receiving the money," Bernstein said. The New York State Supreme Court is a trial-level court.
Prego and her lawyers looked relaxed when they came into court and smiled but they had no immediate comment.
Prego said she contracted the killer disease because a doctor at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn carelessly left an AIDS-infected needle in a pile of bedding Jan. 12, 1983.
Her doctors said in court that she has less than a year to live.