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Colorado Lasik Vision Doctor Accused of Refusing to Perform Surgery on Two HIV-Positive People

November 10, 2004

The Legal Center for People with Disabilities, a Colorado-based not-for-profit advocacy organization, has claimed that the Lasik Vision Institute and its Glendale, Colo.-based doctor Paul Cutarelli refused to perform eye surgery on two HIV-positive customers, the Denver Post reports. According to a complaint filed with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, an employee at the Lasik Vision Institute office in 2003 told a man who was seeking vision correction surgery that Cutarelli would not operate on the man after he informed her that he was HIV-positive, Eric Maxfield, an attorney at the Legal Center, said, the Post reports. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Cutarelli should have conducted the procedure for the man unless there was a medical reason not to do so, Maxfield added, according to the Post (McGhee, Denver Post, 11/8). "Lasik Vision Institute and Dr. Cutarelli did not follow established medical guidelines for properly screening candidates for Lasik surgery," Maxfield said in a statement, adding, "I am gravely concerned that a national company with many thousands of customers, as well as a licensed MD, would be so far behind established medical practice and established law." The Legal Center also has alleged that an HIV-positive woman was denied Lasik surgery without any examination to determine if her HIV status would affect her standing for the procedure (Legal Center release, 11/5). Maxfield said he would like CCRD to mediate the dispute and require Cutarelli to change his policies, according to the Post. Cutarelli, his attorney and an attorney for Lasik Vision could not be reached on Friday for comment, the Post reports (Denver Post, 11/8).

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