Justice Delivered: OB/GYN practice settles after turning away an HIV positive woman because she was “too sick”

Our client was referred to a small OB/GYN practice in western Pennsylvania for a colposcopy. Upon arrival, she was escorted to an exam room by a nurse, and asked questions about her health, including her HIV status. The client disclosed that she has HIV and began to get undressed in preparation for the invasive procedure. The nurse told her “don’t bother getting undressed.”

Forty-five minutes later, a physician entered the examination room and told our client she was “too sick.” He said he expected her colposcopy results to indicate cancer and, without examining her, referred her to a specialty practice. He made this referral even though the OB/GYN practice is affiliated with a gynecological oncologist. Our client left humiliated, angry and in tears. She found another practice willing to perform the colposcopy and cancer was thankfully ruled out.

Our client was still upset when she contacted our office in December of 2016. In response, the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania sent a demand letter to the OB/GYN practice. Four months later, the practice paid her $10,000 for her humiliation and emotional distress.