A New Jersey man has filed a lawsuit against Trinitas Regional Medical Center, claiming that the hospital provided him with improper medical treatment because he is homosexual and HIV-positive.
The incident occurred in August 2011. According to the complaint, the man was being admitted to the hospital when a doctor asked him how he had contracted HIV. The man responded that he had contracted the virus as a result of unprotected sex. The doctor then asked if the patient had sex with other men. When he responded affirmatively, the doctor allegedly stopped the intake procedure and left the room.
After this initial consultation, the man was not visited by a nurse or doctor, even though he repeatedly told hospital staff that he needed to take medication for his HIV.
On the third day of his stay, the patient was allowed to call his personal physician. During that conversation, he says he learned that his physician had already talked with the hospital's doctor about the patient's HIV medication. Allegedly, the hospital's doctor told the physician that he "must be gay" if he would agree to treat an HIV-positive gay man. The complaint further alleges that when the physician reaffirmed the importance of giving the patient his HIV medication, the hospital doctor responded "This is what he gets for going against God's will," and then hung up on the physician.
The patient finally received his medicine after his sister brought a supply directly to the hospital's nurses' station. By that point, the patient had missed five doses of medication. HIV patients who do not take their medication regularly may develop life-threatening complications.
All New Jersey patients have a right to receive competent and adequate medical treatment, regardless of their status as a member of a minority group. If the man's allegations are proven to be true, the hospital could be required to pay significant damages.
Source: Courthouse News Service, "Doctors With Gay Bias Denied Meds, Man Says," Chris Fry, June 1, 2012.