The Justice Department sued two Bakersfield doctors on Thursday for refusing to provide routine medical care to a patient with HIV.
“Medical providers have a legal obligation under the ADA to provide individuals with HIV equal access to healthcare services, and are in the best position to ensure all involved are adequately protected.” — John Daukas, acting assistant attorney general, Civil Rights Division
“The Justice Department continues to work to end discriminatory and stigmatizing treatment of people with HIV based on unfounded fears and stereotypes,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Daukas for the Civil Rights Division in a news release.
“Medical providers have a legal obligation under the ADA to provide individuals with HIV equal access to healthcare services, and are in the best position to ensure all involved are adequately protected.”
The federal lawsuits allege that Dr. Chibuike Anucha, MD, PC, and Dr. Umaima Jamaluddin, MD, in unconnected incidents, refused to provide routine OB/GYN care to a patient due to the patient’s HIV status.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that “HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. If HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).”
Both Doctors Declined to Perform Pap Smears
According to the complaint against Dr. Jamaluddin, the doctor refused to allow the patient to make an appointment for preventative care, including a Pap smear, when she learned of the patient’s HIV status.
The complaint against Dr. Anucha claims that he told the patient she needed a Pap smear. However, the doctor said he would not perform it because he does not treat high-risk patients.
The lawsuit alleges that a Pap smear is a routine medical procedure and that an individual with HIV needn’t be referred to a specialist for a Pap smear.
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits public accommodations, including doctors or other professional offices of healthcare providers, from discriminating against people with disabilities, including those with HIV.
Read the Complaints