Utah Man Sues Surgical Center, Two Doctors for Refusing Him Surgery Because He Was HIV-Positive

A Spanish Fork, Utah, man last month filed a civil rights lawsuit against HealthSouth Provo Surgical Center and two physicians, saying they refused him surgery for an ulcerated toe because he is HIV-positive, the Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News reports. According to the lawsuit, Daniel Richardson was referred to HealthSouth Provo and had his surgery scheduled for December 2004, but then it was cancelled. The suit says that one of the doctors who referred Richardson for surgery said that "no scrub techs would do the surgery and it was the policy of HealthSouth Provo Surgical Center not to accept HIV-positive patients." According to the lawsuit, the surgical center and physicians violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, and it seeks unspecified actual and punitive damages and asks the court to permanently prevent the defendants from denying treatment to HIV-positive patients. "I'm hoping (the lawsuit) will serve an educational function and it will remind people there are universal procedures in effect for doctors and other medical practitioners and, if those are followed, there is no need to engage in any sort of discrimination," Richardson's attorney, Marlin Criddle, said (Collins, Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News, 9/1). Stephen Owens, an attorney for HealthSouth Provo, said the center is looking into the complaint. "We're taking it seriously," he said, adding, "We can't comment yet because we just learned about it" (Manson, Salt Lake Tribune, 9/6).

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