LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — An HIV-positive Lancaster County man whose former doctors “dismissed” him over blood in a bathroom sued them for discrimination Monday in federal court.
The man, his wife and their minor daughter contend in the suit that his HIV status is a disability and that the doctors violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when they advised him in writing in October 2013 that the family was being dropped as patients.
The civil suit filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia did not identify the plaintiffs by their real names. The defendants are the Diamantoni medical practice, which was founded by Lancaster County Coroner Stephen Diamantoni, and two of its doctors.
The patient contends he was wrongly accused of leaving blood in a bathroom after having blood drawn and that he was not bleeding at all. The defendants’ lawyer says he was the first patient of the day, arriving before any medical professionals, and an aide discovered the “mess” before any other patients came in.
The practice’s letter to the patient cited “a large amount of blood all over the sink, walls and floor” and said it posed a health risk to others in the office.
“We are sorry to have to part ways in this situation but it seems you may not have appropriate concern for those who would like to take care of you and those around you,” said the letter signed by Dr. William Vollmar, the partner who manages the practice’s Quarryville office.
The letter gave the patient and his family 30 days to find another doctor, saying it would provide only emergency treatment in the interim.
Ronda B. Goldfein, director of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, which is representing the plaintiffs, said the defense’s explanation “sounds like it was a fabrication.”
Joe Hofmann, a Lancaster lawyer representing the practice, acknowledged that no photos of the blood were taken or tests done to verify whose blood it was.
But “it was blatantly obvious who was responsible for it and it was this patient,” Hofmann said.
Diamantoni, who was not named in the lawsuit, said Monday he has provided “professional and compassionate” medical care for patients with HIV and AIDS since he founded the practice in the mid-’80s.
Diamantoni said dismissals of patients have occurred in the past for abusing staff member or missing too many appointments, but that they are rare.
The suit seeks a ruling that the practice’s dismissal of the plaintiffs as patients violated the disabilities act, requirements for new staff policies and training that covers HIV and unspecified monetary damages.
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