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Gay, HIV patient denied medication, visitors ‘for going agai


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ELIZABETH, N.J. — 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.â€

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.

Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Elizabeth, N.J.

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

Simoes says Borja 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.

Borja then allegedly asked Simoes how he got HIV, to which he responded, “I got it from unprotected sex.â€

The complaint then says that “Dr. Borja 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?â€

Simoes says he responded affirmatively and that, “immediately after hearing this, Dr. Borja proceeded to exit the room.â€

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 Borja about Simoes’ medication, according to the complaint.

Borja allegedly responded: “You must be gay, too, if you’re his doctor.â€

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

“Dr. Borja 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.â€

Simoes says his sister had been at the hospital when he checked in, but the hospital refused to let her visit.

When the sister came to the hospital again on the day Simoes spoke with his personal physician, she brought her brother’s medication.

“Plaintiff witnessed his sister leave his medication with the nurses’ station and 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 states.

The hospital’s conduct allegedly caused Simoes to miss five doses of his medication

http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2012/06/gay-hiv-patient-denied-medication-visitors-for-going-against-gods-will/

Found via feministing. This is how dangerous the laws that Republicans are pasing to allow healthcare providers to deny treatment based on personal belief is

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If it's true, I hope the hospital gets taken for all it has and that every person involved loses their jobs and their licences. Missing even one dose can fuck HIV up so bad.

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If it's true, I hope the hospital gets taken for all it has and that every person involved loses their jobs and their licences. Missing even one dose can fuck HIV up so bad.

+1

I hope those 'professionals' careers are over.

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I have an older cousin, out, gay, and POS living in Elizabeth. I was afraid I'd see his name in the headlines.

I hope that Joao winds up owning that effing hospital.

riffle

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This is just unbelievably horrible.

How can any doctor reconcile treating someone this way with their hippocratic oath?

And to do it so absolutely shamelessly, in the way the doctor spoke to this man's treating physician? Not saying it would be ok if she was more discreet, but to be so confident in her bigotry that she would be open about it to another medical professional is mind blowing.

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I'd be interested in seeing the hospital's response, and the hospital records.

Statements contained in court pleadings are allegations, not proven facts. While I've been surprised before by stuff I learned on this site, I'd still find it difficult to believe that a doctor and hospital would deliberately deprive a man of HIV meds due to religious homophobia. It goes against every rule that any doctor was ever taught, and would be grounds for a doctor losing their license. The patient was fresh out of jail, and in the mental health ward. Until the case progresses to the point that the records are released, and we get evidence from the patient's own doctor who spoke to Dr. Borja, I'm not automatically going to assume that we have a completely accurate account.

I also have no idea why a lawsuit wouldn't also name Dr. Borja personally as a defendant. It makes me wonder about the quality of the legal advice.

I read through the comments on the article, and quite frankly, the lynch mob mentality scares me. There are a few rational individuals who noticed that we only have one side of the story, but everyone else is ready to accept a claim from a mental patient as absolute truth and kill the doctor. Psychiatrists aren't always loved by patients, particularly when they are the ones certifying that someone is dangerous and needs to be committed.

If this really did happen, she obviously deserves to lose her license and both she and the hospital should pay damages. My concern is that it may not have happened at all, and this doctor is having her contact information spread around while people are literally wishing her dead.

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Ya, smells fishy to me, too.

However, some of the craziest, opinionated and hard-headed people I know are mental health professionals.

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Ya, smells fishy to me, too.

However, some of the craziest, opinionated and hard-headed people I know are mental health professionals.

*nods* yup. One of my friends once got involuntarily committed. What caused this? she had been depressed, went in for help. THey asked if she was ever suicidal. She mentioned "when I was a teen". She's 50. :shock: It was a pretty horrifying story.

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Thirding the fishy odor. I know that there are people this bigoted but this statement and situation feels contrived.

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How can any doctor reconcile treating someone this way with their hippocratic oath?

The oath is a tradition and it's compulsory, as is commonly believed. I also thought, until recently, that all doctors took the oath, but then found out the truth. So no, not all doctors take the promise to always put the patient's treatment and care first ahead of all else. Good doctors will anyway, but there's not only no way to enforce the oath, but not all take it anyway, and of those who say it, not all even mean it. Like crossing their fingers behind their backs.

However denying an HIV+ person his medications could have killed him, and for that alone, the hospital and the doctors need to be held criminally responsible as well as civilly. It's especially damning against them because that man's own regular physician was personally told the worst of it ("That's what he gets for going against god's will"). The doctor has nothing to gain by lying for the patient, but can find himself blacklisted by other doctors for coming forward, but yet he's apparently told the man what was said, and so is willing to take a hit for what's right.

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The oath is a ceremony. It has no legal standing. The laws of the State are what is binding. I doubt the New Jersey has laws that allow a doctor to withhold treatment based on religious beliefs. I hold a medical license in the state of New Jersey.

I think there is something fishy about this story.

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The oath is a ceremony. It has no legal standing. The laws of the State are what is binding. I doubt the New Jersey has laws that allow a doctor to withhold treatment based on religious beliefs. I hold a medical license in the state of New Jersey.

I think there is something fishy about this story.

Sadly it's common when in psych wards for them to withhold medications for a while. So I can see a doctor withholding HIV meds on religious grounds while hiding behind the common protocol of stopping all meds. When my mom was put on holds, she wasn't even allowed her heart meds.

If that doctor hadn't make the statement to the man's physician, that man would be pretty SOL on everything since everyone would be saying he's just a mad psych patient. I'll bet that the doctor mentally cursed after hanging up the phone because of involving someone credible.

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Sadly it's common when in psych wards for them to withhold medications for a while. So I can see a doctor withholding HIV meds on religious grounds while hiding behind the common protocol of stopping all meds. When my mom was put on holds, she wasn't even allowed her heart meds.

If that doctor hadn't make the statement to the man's physician, that man would be pretty SOL on everything since everyone would be saying he's just a mad psych patient. I'll bet that the doctor mentally cursed after hanging up the phone because of involving someone credible.

I'll bet he verbally cursed after hanging up the phone.

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I just really hope this is not true. I don't want to live in a world where this happens. Big Sad Face.

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I'll bet he verbally cursed after hanging up the phone.

She.

And that's the part I have trouble swallowing. Not that doctors never abuse their patients (mental patients in particular) or withhold necessary treatment, but that she'd do it in front of a witness a court would believe. Since unfortunately, most people (including people here) think mental patients are more likely than the general public to make shit up out of spite.

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She.

And that's the part I have trouble swallowing. Not that doctors never abuse their patients (mental patients in particular) or withhold necessary treatment, but that she'd do it in front of a witness a court would believe. Since unfortunately, most people (including people here) think mental patients are more likely than the general public to make shit up out of spite.

If that doctor is such a good Christian, I wonder if she'd curse out loud. That's why I suggested mentally.

Statistically someone in a mental ward is seen as more likely to lie than tell the truth. Thing is, a lot of mental patients like, like a lot of people who aren't patients, lie all the damned time anyway, but when you're not a patient, you're automatically thought of as more truthful. People on both sides lie plenty, one side having people who may be less likely to realize they're doing it, and the other doing it on purpose to get out of trouble. If anything, I think patients with certain diagnoses might be more included to tell the absolute truth no matter what even without thinking about it.

But our society in general still automatically things mental patients aren't credible, non-mental patients are more credible, and those in certain professions, like doctors, will never ever lie. But watch, there's going to be a lying doctor, unless that lady tells the truth and says she said it. If she really didn't, then the physician is lying. But unless she says she did it, then one is lying. Oh no, the cosmos can't handle someone on top who is always supposed to be truthful telling a lie!

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I was talking about the guy's personal physician, who likely cursed out loud after talking to this woman.

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That entire article made me sick at my stomach. I hope that this patient wins an awful lot of money from this psycho, and puts him out of the medical field forever.

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If that doctor is such a good Christian, I wonder if she'd curse out loud. That's why I suggested mentally.

Statistically someone in a mental ward is seen as more likely to lie than tell the truth. Thing is, a lot of mental patients like, like a lot of people who aren't patients, lie all the damned time anyway, but when you're not a patient, you're automatically thought of as more truthful. People on both sides lie plenty, one side having people who may be less likely to realize they're doing it, and the other doing it on purpose to get out of trouble. If anything, I think patients with certain diagnoses might be more included to tell the absolute truth no matter what even without thinking about it.

But our society in general still automatically things mental patients aren't credible, non-mental patients are more credible, and those in certain professions, like doctors, will never ever lie. But watch, there's going to be a lying doctor, unless that lady tells the truth and says she said it. If she really didn't, then the physician is lying. But unless she says she did it, then one is lying. Oh no, the cosmos can't handle someone on top who is always supposed to be truthful telling a lie!

Elle, from what I can tell from the article, all that has happened so far is that the patient has filed court papers suing the hospital. That's it.

Court papers contain allegations, nothing more.

I don't see any statement yet directly from the patient's personal physician, so we don't know for a fact whether the alleged conversation took place.

Based on personal experience (I've had many cases wihere there was a mental health element), I would question the ability of some psychiatric patients to know what the truth is, especially if there is any element of psychosis. I've had cases where I saw people completely misconstrue situations, imagine conspiracies, swear up and down that documents said one thing when they clearly said something else, or lack any real understanding or clear memory of events that had happened.

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I just double-checked the Rules of Civil Procedure for New Jersey.

http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/rules/r4-5.htm

As I suspected, the rules for civil pleadings are similar to the rules in Ontario. According to these rules, the allegations made in the court papers do NOT have to be true. The allegations are not made in the form of a sworn statement, and it is possible to simultaneously plead two different versions of facts. [This is commonly done in accident cases, for example, saying "X didn't ensure the vehicle was safe to drive, or wasn't in any condition to drive, or failed to keep a proper lookout, or followed too closely, or failed to signal, or ignored the weather....]

So, we have absolutely no proof of anything at this point. I'll hold my judgment until we get a response from the doctor and hospital, and see what the actual evidence and testimony is.

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Based on personal experience (I've had many cases wihere there was a mental health element), I would question the ability of some psychiatric patients to know what the truth is, especially if there is any element of psychosis. I've had cases where I saw people completely misconstrue situations, imagine conspiracies, swear up and down that documents said one thing when they clearly said something else, or lack any real understanding or clear memory of events that had happened.

Yet there's no reason to assume the patient wasn't capable. People do not receive psychological treatment for psychosis only. He might have been depressed, have an eating disorder, borderline... whatever!

Btw, I was once close to being committed against my will, too. I was badly hurt by another person, and did not want to disclose his name because I was traumatized and afraid, so the very competent psychiatrist at hospital concluded I "must have done it to myself" and sent me to be committed. Luckily, the more competent people there believed me and let me go!

Unfortunately, this article only reinforced my opinion that something is currently wrong, deeply wrong, with the mix of religion and politics in conservative circles in the US.

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NJ is not exactly a hotbead of US feligious fundementalism. I don't know about this story.......I'm going to wait and see how it pans out.

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Statements contained in court pleadings are allegations, not proven facts. While I've been surprised before by stuff I learned on this site, I'd still find it difficult to believe that a doctor and hospital would deliberately deprive a man of HIV meds due to religious homophobia. It goes against every rule that any doctor was ever taught, and would be grounds for a doctor losing their license. The patient was fresh out of jail, and in the mental health ward. Until the case progresses to the point that the records are released, and we get evidence from the patient's own doctor who spoke to Dr. Borja, I'm not automatically going to assume that we have a completely accurate account.

I also have no idea why a lawsuit wouldn't also name Dr. Borja personally as a defendant. It makes me wonder about the quality of the legal advice.

It's very odd. I'd find it hard to believe a doctor could be so bigoted - and not have been caught up on it yet by having something similar happen before. I like to think people wouldn't bring frivolous or hard to prove lawsuits either, but I realise that does happen, especially in some places. Anyway, I don't think doctors should be machines who have to treat regardless of their beliefs, but then they should be willing to provide an immediate referral or alternative treatment.

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Guest Anonymous

It's very odd. I'd find it hard to believe a doctor could be so bigoted - and not have been caught up on it yet by having something similar happen before. I like to think people wouldn't bring frivolous or hard to prove lawsuits either, but I realise that does happen, especially in some places. Anyway, I don't think doctors should be machines who have to treat regardless of their beliefs, but then they should be willing to provide an immediate referral or alternative treatment.

That is exactly what doctors should be! There is absolutely no excuse for not providing the best available medical care, certainly not 'I don't believe in it'.

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Totally agree. In some professions and jobs (including mine, incidentally) you can't get away with that.

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