Wisconsin Man Files Lawsuit Claiming Doctor Refused to Perform Surgery Because of His HIV-Positive Status
October 7, 2004
A 54-year-old man from Waupaca, Wis., on Tuesday filed a lawsuit alleging that an orthopedist refused to perform a scheduled back surgery on him after learning he is HIV-positive, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (Nunnally, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10/5). The suit -- which was filed by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin and the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee on behalf of patient Stephen Spera -- claims that Dr. James Cain violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act when he told Spera by telephone that he was canceling spinal fusion surgery on Spera's back because a preoperative blood test revealed Spera is HIV-positive, the AP/Duluth News Tribune reports. The suit also says that Cain did not offer HIV counseling required under Wisconsin law when informing Spera of his HIV status (AP/Duluth New Tribune, 10/5). In the suit, Spera asks that Cain, who practices at Orthopedic Associates of Milwaukee, be barred from denying treatment to HIV-positive patients. The suit also seeks unspecified punitive damages. Cain's secretary at Orthopedic Associates said on Tuesday that Cain had not been served with a copy of the suit and had no comment, according to the Journal Sentinel.
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.