A Catholic hospital is being sued for denial of HIV medication to a gay man “for going against God’s will.”
Trinitas Regional Medical Center, says Joao Simoes, admitted him last August but then denied him the medicine he needed and also would not let his sister see him.
Denial of access to medicine for people living with HIV/AIDS, even for short periods, can have serious consequences for long term survival because of drug resistance. This can result from missing as few as five doses — which Simoes says he missed.
The complaint says that after admittance he met Dr. Susan V. Borga. She asked him how he had acquired HIV and “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?’”
Three days later, he was finally permitted to ring his personal physician and learned that he had already told Borga about his medication, but he had not received any or been visited by any doctor.
Borga had allegedly told his physician: “You must be gay, too, if you’re his doctor.”
The complaint adds:
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.
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.
American Medical Association (AMA) policy is that “physicians can conscientiously object to the treatment of a patient only in non-emergent situations” and that they “must provide alternative(s) which include a prompt and appropriate referral.”
Principle I of the AMA Principles of Medical Ethics calls upon physicians to provide medical care with compassion and respect for human dignity and rights. Accordingly, physicians may not decline to accept patients based on their race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or “any other basis that would constitute invidious discrimination”
You can sign a petition to Trinitas here.