Medical Malpractice & the LGBTQ Community

Medical Malpractice & the LGBTQ Community

by / Wednesday, 09 February 2022 / Published in Medical Malpractice
LGBTQ pride flag.

The LGBTQ community has long fought for equality in all areas of life, and while much progress has been made, they often still face discrimination in their day-to-day lives. Healthcare is one area where many LGBTQ individuals still struggle to get the care they need because of biases in healthcare providers. 

When we talk about medical negligence, it’s important to understand that it doesn’t simply refer to things like a surgeon leaving tools inside of a patient during a procedure. It can also include things like a diagnosis being delayed, mistakes being made regarding medication, and performing medically unnecessary procedures, all of which are problems that some LGBTQ patients experience as a result of medical professionals not understanding their needs or not taking them seriously. 

Even though efforts have been made to prevent discrimination in healthcare against LGBTQ patients, it’s still something that happens and it can significantly impact patient care in a negative way. In a fact sheet published by the National Women’s Law Center, several examples of this are cited, including: 

  • A gay man being denied HIV medication by the staff of a hospital, even after his personal doctor explained to hospital staff how important it was to take the medication on time to be effective.
  • An HIV-positive man whose primary care provider refused to refer him for emergency care. The patient was later brought to the emergency room by police with internal bleeding and was diagnosed with an infection, pneumonia, and AIDS. 
  • A lawsuit filed by the brother of a 39-year-old teacher which accused the EMTs who responded to his sister’s 911 call of not taking her seriously when they found out she was a lesbian. The lawsuit also alleged that protocol was violated when his sister was left alone for over an hour once she was admitted to the hospital, during which time she went into a coma before dying a few days later. 
  • Transgender patients being subjected to exams and excessive questioning that are completely unrelated to the reason the person was seeking medical treatment.

In addition to stories such as those, many LGBTQ people and HIV-positive people in general have experienced doctors refusing to provide care to them, which can result in medical conditions being given more time to progress if the patient is unable to get care elsewhere right away. 

Contact a Michigan Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Even if there aren’t laws in a state that specifically prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ patients, medical negligence is never acceptable. If you’ve been harmed by a medical error, it’s extremely important to get in touch with a medical malpractice lawyer. Malpractice cases can be very complex and it’s important to have a lawyer on your side who knows the law and can help you get the justice you deserve. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to speak to a lawyer who is experienced helping medical malpractice victims in the state of Michigan. Contact us today to get started. 

Image: Pexels / Sharon McCutcheon

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