A couple from Orleans Parish is suing Touro Infirmary, claiming that they were "exposed to a quantity of what appeared to be blood" after drinking water provided to them by hospital staff.

Metairie attorney Joseph Guilbeau filed the suit on behalf of John and Tanya McFarland on June 10 in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

The incident allegedly occurred in July 2010 while the petitioners were visiting a friend who had suffered a heart attack in the emergency room.

The plaintiffs allegedly threw up and Tanya McFarland "was made physically sick with anxiety and worry over the episode."

"Both were very concerned about contamination by Hepatitis or other diseases," the suit states.

The suit claims that the couple was sharing a cup of ice water when John McFarland "noticed what appeared to him to be a glob of blood within the ice cup."

"This caused quite a ruckus among those assembled nearby," the suit states.

After contacting and nurse and her supervisor and speaking with a doctor who told him "it was unlikely he would catch anything" and the two "discussed AIDS," the suit states.

The suit claims McFarland asked for something in writing that said he hadn't been contaminated and the doctor said he would have be admitted.

The suit alleges that McFarland saw a message appear on the computer screen the nurse was using for his admission, which stated the nurse should "stop everything and send the McFarlands to the back."

The couple was examined by separate doctors but no blood was drawn and the couple's "impressions were that this action by the doctors was pre-planned and choreographed."

The McFarlands were told they had "to pay for something" and after asking why no examinations took place, "the McFarlands justifiably became angry and concerned," the suit states.

The suit claims that the defendants instructed the couple that there was no more testing that could be done because "there was nothing they could catch."

When he was being escorted out of the building by a security guard, John McFarland asked for, and was denied, access to the cup he used and an opportunity to take a picture of the ice machine.

The suit claims the hospital destroying the tainted cup "constitutes spoliation of evidence under Louisiana law, defendant intentionally destroyed evidence for the purpose of depriving petitioners of its use."

The suit claims the defendants were liable for negligence, intentionally destroying evidence and for "essentially putting on a dog and pony show for petitioners which was demeaning, insulting, and presupposed ignorance on petitioner's part."

The plaintiffs "were compelled to undergo stressful blood testing and treatment and have suffered significant anxiety, stress, inconvenience, and which to some extent is perpetual," the suit states.

The suit does not indicate if the McFarlands contracted any blood-born illness.

Orleans Parish Judge Madeleine Landrieu has been assigned this case.

Orleans Parish Case 2011-6153

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