There is a Twitter anecdote about someone who had himself tested for COVID twice at the same lab in Florida and was both times told he tested negative, but when he asked for the physical documents that contained his test results, the documents said he and the people he got tested with tested positive both times.

Just so everyone knows, Florida is lying about COVID tests. My brother and I went in to get a PCR test and when he called to get the results, they told us they were both negative. When my brother felt some symptoms 2 days later, he went in with my 7 year old nephew and got tested
at the same place again. This time he didn't call and waited to get a hard copy of the results. The person at the desk (who was different than the 2 days prior) handed him the tests and said they were both negative. When he got into his car and looked at the results himself,
he could see they were positive. They just straight up lied twice about the results. Lied to on 2 separate occasions by 2 different people. Doesn't seem like incompetence to me at that point. How many people have been sick and didn't know it was COVID and then spread it?

Setting aside the speculation about motives and whether this is malice or incompetence, and just looking at the claim made in this post without judging the veracity and whether this is an isolated incident just at this center or a systematic occurrence across Florida, is it legal in the state of Florida for someone at a medical test center to knowingly tell someone they tested negative for an illness when in fact they tested positive?

1 Answer 1


There are circumstances in which medical ethics historically authorized treating physicians to defer sharing information with patients or even to mislead them in their best interests medically, although the scope of what is considered ethical in that regard is narrowing.

But in the fact pattern described in the quoted material there is no plausible way that this withholding of information could be justified. If it was intentional (or for that matter, even if it was negligent) there could be grounds for tort liability for harm caused as a result (although causation and damages are hard to prove).

On the other hand, just because it could give rise to tort liability, doesn't imply that the action is necessarily a crime, at least without some kind of motive other than random spite to intentionally provide a false result.

However, it is quite difficult to come up with a believable reason that this would happen to someone at random. If the person taking the test bribed someone to provide a false result, which is plausible, that is one thing, but just doing it randomly really doesn't make any sense. The fact pattern provided sounds like it doesn't include the "full story." Why keep records of the actual test results (or for that matter why do the actual tests at all) if you are merely going to intentionally provide a false negative?

  • What is tort liability? Is it fully synonymous with civil liability? Commented May 3, 2022 at 9:13
  • 1
    @JosephP. Tort liability is civil liability for money damages for a civil wrong other than a breach of contract or specific statute award to a private individual who was harmed by the civil wrong in a lawsuit brought by the individual. Civil liability could also include breach of contract liability, liability for breaching a statute, or liability for a civil fine brought by a governmental entity.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented May 3, 2022 at 15:49
  • Would “heart” react this if I could, but what is specific statute award? Commented May 4, 2022 at 10:40
  • @JosephP. I'm not sure I understand your question. The tort liability in question would arise from the common law torts of negligence, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, or fraudulent concealment, not from a statute.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented May 4, 2022 at 18:59
  • Your comment says other than “breach of contract or a specific statute award”. What did you mean a specific statute award? Commented May 4, 2022 at 19:31

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