Dr. Hacib Aoun, a cardiologist who was infected with the AIDS virus while treating a patient nine years ago at Johns Hopkins Hospital and later sued the hospital for disclosing his illness, has died of complications from the disease. He was 36.
Dr. Aoun died Sunday night at his home in Glen Arm, with his wife, father, mother and two of his brothers at his bedside.
He contracted the virus in February 1983 while he was treating a teen-age leukemia patient who had received numerous blood transfusions. He was trying to put a cap on a slender 4-inch tube holding a blood specimen when the tube shattered, cutting his finger.
At the time he was infected, the human immunodeficiency virus had not been discovered and although Dr. Aoun was briefly ill with flu-like symptoms, now known to occur shortly after exposure to the virus, neither Dr. Aoun nor his physician connected the illness with the accident.
The virus was not diagnosed until three years later, when, in December 1986, he was suffering from weakness, nausea and fever and was tested for the AIDS virus.
Dr. Aoun sued Johns Hopkins Hospital in June 1987, claiming that he told two top Hopkins officials about his illness and how he contracted it. The suit contends that the officials promised to keep the information confidential and support him financially.
But Dr. Aoun said his illness soon became known not only among his colleagues at Hopkins, but also in hospitals across the nation.
In addition, he said hospital officials tested a sample of the patient'sblood they knew would be free of the virus, either by using a sample taken before the patient's exposure to the virus or blood taken from a different patient. After the negative test, the suit alleged that hospital officials said Dr. Aoun's illness was contracted from homosexuality or intravenous drug use. The suit was settled in December 1987, with Johns Hopkins Hospital paying Dr. Aoun an undisclosed amount of money and acknowledging that he had contracted the disease on the job.
In the last years of his life, Dr. Aoun became an advocate for the rights of infected health-care workers and urged care and compassion for AIDS patients. When he testified in September before a congressional subcommittee, he argued against mandatory testing of health-care workers and said doctors who were infected with the virus could perform many medical procedures safely.
His last article on the subject of acquired immune deficiency syndrome and health-care workers will appear today in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Dr. Aoun was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and received his medical degree from the University of Costa Rica in 1980. He did his internship at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville, Tenn., before going to Johns Hopkins in 1982 for his residency and a fellowship.
He is survived by his wife of six years, Dr. Patricia Angueira Aoun, and a 5-year-old daughter, Gabriela Aoun, both of Glen Arm; his parents, Orlando and Aura Aoun; a sister, Cindy Aoun; and two brothers, Orlando Aoun and Juan Carlos Aoun. The parents, sister and brothers are of Caracas.
A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. today at the Ruck Funeral Home, 1050 York Road in Towson.
The family suggests memorial contributions to the University of Maryland Cancer Center, 22 S. Greene St., Baltimore 21201.