Refusing care based on sexual orientation

Nurses Relations


I recently changed jobs. I moved from a large, metro hospital in a liberal city to one located in a relatively small town. Because I live in a small town, I expected some narrow minded ignorance. I didn't have to wait long.

To make a long story short, one of the hospitalists refused to provide care for a patient based on the patient's sexual orientation. I am just blown away. I think that the doctor would probably be disciplined at my old hospital but here, no one blinked an eye.


Specializes in Med/surg, Tele, educator, FNP.

Wow! I can't believe that?!?? I guess that doctor didn't take the same oath the others took. :( sad....

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Specializes in Neuro ICU and Med Surg.

Wow really sad.

Isn't that illegal?

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development.
Isn't that illegal?

Unfortunately, sexual orientation is not a protected class in many places. Where I live, it is perfectly legal to deny housing to someone who is gay just for being gay, it is perfectly legal to fire someone just for being gay, the list goes on.

Isn't that illegal?

I wouldn't say it's "illegal" but I doubt the medical board in that state would be pleased.

Specializes in LTC.

That is sick.

What happens when that patient crashes and that's the only hospitalist on? Is he going to give substandard care then? He's a doctor. When he signed up for this he knew that he'd run into a lot of people who's lifestyles he didn't agree with. You just have to put that to the side and keep on caring for him. I hate caring for addicts, but I still do it.

Specializes in MDS/ UR.

Why the hell should that even matter? You are treating them not dating them.

Specializes in Pediatrics, Emergency, Trauma.
Isn't that illegal?

I thought that it was illegal as well; no one can be refused treatment based on race, sexual orientation, religion, or culture; I thought that this was a CMS rule; you can't refuse to care for someone based on those factors, as well as accommodate preferences that may discriminate based on those classes.

Specializes in LTC Rehab Med/Surg.

It's not that I'm doubting your post, but it puzzles me. It makes no sense that the hospital, his employer, would allow this to happen. It opens up all kinds of avenues for lawsuits. The PR fallout would be a nightmare.

The problem is pr only happens when people are bold enough to make waves. Not all people are willing to put their business out there like that unfortunately.

I so believe CMS has regulations about this and if he came in through ER EMTALA would protect this patient.

If this were happening at my hospital I would definitely be looking for a way to anonymously stir the pot. One phone call questioning the rights to CMS should do the trick.

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

What department was this a not for profit?

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