Advertisement
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
  
  • Email Email
  • Comments Comments
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

Press Release

Lambda Legal and ARCW File Federal Lawsuit on Behalf of HIV-Positive Woman Denied Surgery by Healthcare Provider

February 12, 2009

Milwaukee, WI -- Lambda Legal and the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) filed a federal lawsuit today in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin on behalf of Melody Rose, a 35-year-old Wisconsin woman who was denied surgery to remove her gallbladder because she has HIV.

"Discrimination in healthcare remains a major problem for people living with HIV," said Peter Kimball, Director of the Legal Services Program at the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW). "In violation of both federal and Wisconsin law, Dr. Steven Cahee refused to provide needed medical treatment to our client, Melody Rose."

Lambda Legal and ARCW represent Melody Rose who experienced health problems with her gallbladder while incarcerated at Taycheedah Correctional Institution in Fond du Lac. Ultimately, her physician referred her to Dr. Steven Cahee at the Fond du Lac Regional Hospital to have her gall bladder removed.

Advertisement
However, Dr. Cahee refused to perform the surgery after learning Ms. Rose is HIV-positive. Some time thereafter, a surgeon at a different medical facility removed Ms. Rose's gallbladder in a laprascopic procedure, which is considered routine surgery.

"Dr. Cahee's actions fly in the face of ethical behavior for a medical professional," said Scott Schoettes, Staff Attorney with Lambda Legal's HIV Project. "Long ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established that using universal precautions -- which are required in all sorts of medical situations, including surgeries -- makes it extremely unlikely for the virus to be transmitted in this setting."

The complaint filed today alleges that the defendants -- Steven M. Cahee, M.D., Agnesian HealthCare, Inc., and Fond du Lac Regional Clinic, S.C., violated four different state and federal laws. The complaint alleges that the defendants violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its state law counterpart, which both prohibit disability discrimination by places of public accommodation (including healthcare providers); the Rehabilitation Act, which requires recipients of federal financial assistance not to discriminate against people with disabilities; and a Wisconsin law addressing HIV discrimination specifically, which forbids healthcare providers from denying services to people (or humiliating and degrading them) based solely on their HIV status.

The case is Rose v. Cahee, et al.

Scott Schoettes, HIV Project Staff Attorney, is handling the case for Lambda Legal. He is joined by co-counsel Peter Kimball, of AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin.



  
  • Email Email
  • Comments Comments
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

This article was provided by Lambda Legal. Visit Lambda Legal's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 
See Also
More on HIV/AIDS-Related Discrimination Cases
Advertisement:
Find out how a Walgreens specially trained pharmacist can help you

No comments have been made.
 

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read TheBody.com's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:


Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:

Tools
 

Advertisement