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HIV-Positive Doc Sparks Phone Barrage

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MONTREAL, Jan 24, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A Montreal hospital's disclosure that one of its surgeons was HIV-positive prompted thousands of phone calls from concerned Canadian parents.

The telephone barrage to Sainte-Justine Children's Hospital came Friday, a day after the hospital said it was sending letters to more than 2,600 former patients of Maria Di Lorenzo, an HIV-positive surgeon who died last August at age 48, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Saturday.

A general surgeon, she had operated on patients between 1990 to 2003.

At times on Friday, the hospital's switchboard was flooded with calls, some from people who simply could not remember who had operated on their children.

The hospital has said the risk of anyone having been infected through surgery was extremely low. Worldwide, there are only two known cases of HIV being transmitted from a surgeon to a patient.

Officials say Di Lorenzo revealed her HIV status to her supervisor in 1991 and a committee determined what surgeries she could perform.

But the hospital administration was only told about her condition two weeks ago when a colleague came forward out of a sense of moral obligation.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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