Saturday, June 02, 2012

Gay HIV patient denied meds for going “against God’s will”

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It’s depressing that it’s not nearly as surprising as it is revolting that this sort of blatant discrimination still occurs today:

Joao Simoes sued [New Jersey’s] 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."

That’s one quack who needs to be sued right out of practice ASAP. Anyone who agrees to practice medicine enters a contract to help anyone in their charge, regardless of whatever bad choices they may have made (and even if they did time for their actions). Simoes may not be an angel, but that’s completely irrelevant and constitutes no legal (or moral) grounds for denying him his HIV meds (which can cause patients to become resistant to the drugs, thus rendering them useless). The man was discriminated against out of sheer bigotry, plain and simple, and Dr. Borga needs to learn her lesson.

Sadly (albeit schadenfreudelicously), the only way for bigots like her to learn that discrimination is unacceptable is for them to lose their jobs over it. And that’s just fine by me. (Now, if only the same standard were applied to bluenosing pharmacists who deny women their birth control, rather than having pandering lawmakers pass weaselly “conscience clauses” excusing their arrogant neglect of duty.)

Note: The source article may be inaccurate in identifying the doctor as “Susan V. Borga”, as another spelling appears to be “Susan V. Borja”. Worse yet, she’s identified as a pediatric doctor. Because that’s what troubled children need – another flaming religious bigot.

(via Joe. My. God.)