Monday, June 04, 2012

Lawsuit - Doctor refused to treat HIV-positive patient and insulted him

There has been a lawsuit filed in New Jersey which should send a chill up the spine of members of the lgbtq community.

According to Courthouse News Service:

A gay HIV-positive man says in court that a hospital denied him treatment and visitors, as the doctor remarked, "This is what he gets for going against God's will."

Joao Simoes sued Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Union County Superior Court. He says that the hospital admitted him in August 2011, but that "requests for his lifesaving medication were not honored," and his sister was denied visitation rights.

Susan V. Borga, M.D., from the Department of Behavioral Health and Psychiatry, allegedly approached Simoes while he was confined to the hospital's mental health wing. Borga is not named as a defendant.

Simoes says Borga was unfazed when another patient told her that he had just gotten out of prison, where he served time for murder. But her reaction was allegedly different when Simoes said that he did not work because he planned to go back to school and because of his HIV status.

Borga then allegedly asked Simoes how he got HIV, to which he responded, "I got it from unprotected sex."

The complaint then says that "Dr. Borga closed the plaintiff's file, put it down and looked at plaintiff with disgust on her face and asked, coldly, "Is that from sex with men?"

Simoes says he responded affirmatively and that, "immediately after hearing this, Dr. Borga proceeded to exit the room."

After this consultation, no nurse or doctor came to see Simoes, even though he told them that he needed to take his HIV medication, according to the complaint.

When the hospital finally permitted Simoes to call his personal physician on the third day of his stay, he learned that the doctor had already spoken with Borga about Simoes' medication, according to the complaint.

Borga allegedly responded: "You must be gay, too, if you're his doctor."

"Additionally, apparently realizing that plaintiff's doctor had an accent, Dr. Borga exclaimed, 'What, do you need a translator?' to which plaintiff's doctor had again responded that Dr. Borga needed to give plaintiff his HIV medication," the complaint states.

"Dr. Borga responded to plaintiff's doctor by stating, 'This is what he gets for going against God's will,' and hung up the phone on plaintiff's doctor."

More to the story here

If true, this awful story in itself highlights the blatant disrespect that some gays fear that they will face from physicians if they are out. Studies have shown that fear of stigma play a huge stumbling block in the successful treatment of gay men in combating disease, especially AIDS:

One study found that participants who reported high levels of stigma were more than four times more likely to report poor access to care.16 These factors all contribute to the expansion of the epidemic (as a reluctance to determine HIV status or to discuss or practice safe sex means that people are more likely to infect others) and a higher number of AIDS-related deaths. An unwillingness to take an HIV test means that more people are diagnosed late, when the virus has already progressed to AIDS, making treatment less effective and causing early death.

An even more noxious notion is the simple fact that not only does stimga play a role in the spread of AIDS, but when phony experts like Peter Sprigg from the Family Research Council cite the numbers of gay men with AIDS, they will blame the sexual orientation of these gay men as causing the diagnosis, while deliberately omitting how prejudice and stigma plays a part.


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8 comments:

Dan (from Australia) said...

this shouldn't just send a chill up the collective spines of the lgbtq community.. anyone with a soul should be shocked and offended by this (if its true). I know I am, and I'm straight as an arrow.

alice j said...

This should be prosecuted as murder in the first degree, with malice aforethought. And it might be eligible for the 'aggravated' status due to the fact that the doctor had at least some of the patient's trust, the part where if the doctor said so, it must be true. The doctor abused that by knowingly misleading the patient.

This does more than chase chills up my spine; I feel sick about it. Aside from all the obvious tragic parts of this heinous act, there is the growing acceptance of people to say and repeat what their god wants. The fact that they just made it up on the spot is offensive; no one who is truly a christian can blame anyone for pissing off their god.

What's worse is that more and more, American christians are putting up with this and proclaiming more and more that they know god's will and that this knowledge of god's will makes them -oh - more important, more eligible to be voted into office, more powerful within their immediate community. They're saying it on national TV, now, and that's acceptable these days. This is different from in the past, I think.

Jon said...

This behavior if true as stated is likely criminal as well as professional and ethical breaches by the physician and the facility in question. Along with the civil lawsuit I hope complaints have been filed with any State and/or Federal regulatory bodies governing her actions. And if this lawsuit proceeds to trial I hope they take it to full public judgment and not "settle" with a non-disclosure agreement. The physician AND the facility in question need the public shaming. They seem so sure and proud of their religious convictions, let them chalk it up - as they and like minded "Christians" will do - to the "evil heathen world not letting them practice their religion". As for the rest of us in the public we NEED to know of intentional ethical, moral and professional malfeasance such as this to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Jon said...

This behavior if true as stated is likely criminal as well as professional and ethical breaches by the physician and the facility in question. Along with the civil lawsuit I hope complaints have been filed with any State and/or Federal regulatory bodies governing her actions. And if this lawsuit proceeds to trial I hope they take it to full public judgment and not "settle" with a non-disclosure agreement. The physician AND the facility in question need the public shaming. They seem so sure and proud of their religious convictions, let them chalk it up - as they and like minded "Christians" will do - to the "evil heathen world not letting them practice their religion". As for the rest of us in the public we NEED to know of intentional ethical, moral and professional malfeasance such as this to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Jon said...

If you are reading this I have likely after numerous random attempts gotten this to post to your attention.

Hey - I really enjoy your blog, thanks but oh my god your Bot Guard test below is the ABSOLUTE worst one I have seen on the web. I apologize for what may be multiple postings of my comment but I had to refresh the test so many times I just started posting to make sure it got up there. Please look into another system if possible, you might get more commetns, - at least from me. ;-)

BlackTsunami said...

I know. Blogger instituted something new and I loathe it. LOL

Gabriel Roybal said...

this cannot be legal....can it?!>!

Anonymous said...

There are a lot more details in the Court Filing that should have been referenced in this story.

Joao Simoes vs. Trinitas Regional Medical Center (PDF)
http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/06/01/GodsWill.pdf