Doctors Allegedly Refuse a N.J. Gay HIV+ Man Treatment
A gay HIV positive man from New Jersey claims that doctors refused to give him HIV medication and denied him visitation rights because, as one doctor said, "This is what he gets for going against God's will." He is now suing the Catholic hospital, according to Courthouse News Service.
Joao Simoes was placed in Trinitas Regional Medical Center in August 2011 but says that his "requests for his lifesaving medication were not honored" and that his sister was not allowed to visit him. He is suing the hospital for punitive damages for discrimination. Trinitas is located in Elizabeth, a New Jersey port city near Newark and New York City.
Susan V.Borga, M.D, from the Department of Behavioral Health and Psychiatry, allegedly reacted inappropriately when she learned that Simoes, who had just been released from prison after serving time for murder, was infected with HIV.
He told the doctor he was not working because he was HIV positive and that he planned on going back to school. Borga allegedly asked the plaintiff how he got the disease.
"I got it from unprotected sex," Simoes said, according to the complaint. The document also says that Borga closed his file, "put it down and looked at plaintiff with disgust on her face and asked, coldly, 'Is that from sex with men?'" the article notes. Simoes said yes and then said Borga left the room.
After his meeting with the doctor Simoes claims that no medical staff came to check on him, even though he needed to take his HIV medication.
When the plaintiff spoke with his personal physician he found out that he already talked with Borga about his medication. The complaint says that Borga told his physician that he "must be gay, too, if you're his doctor." And once Borga realized that Simoes' physician had an accent she allegedly said "What, do you need a translator?"
The complaint also says Simoes' physician insisted that Borga give his patient his medication but she responded by saying, "This is what he gets for going against God's will," and hung up on the physician.
Additionally, the hospital allegedly prohibited Simoes' sister, who brought her brother his HIV medication, from visiting him.
"It was not until this time that the nurses, seeing that the plaintiff had witnessed his sister give his medication to the nurses, that the nurses eventually gave plaintiff his medication," the complaint says.
In all, Simoes says he missed five doses of his HIV medication.