Court Hears Case Alleging Discrimination Against HIV Patient After Dr. Refused Cosmetic Surgery

A trial in New York City has begun that will determine whether a cosmetic surgeon violated the Disabilities Act by denying service to HIV-positive patients. The initial complaint was filed back in 2016, and according to Crains: “It alleges that Springfield Medical Aesthetic, doing business as Advanced Cosmetic Surgery of New York, and Dr. Emmanuel Asare denied service to a 58-year-old Manhattan man because of his HIV-positive status. Another complainant also alleged he was refused service because Asare presumed he had HIV. A third HIV-positive plaintiff, who had separately sued Asare for denying services, was also added to the federal case.”

The case, which is expected to conclude by the end of the week would have major ramifications for surgeons specializing in elective procedures. “I do think that this case has some potentially significant ramifications because the underlying statutory issue is how do you apply the requirements of the ADA to medical judgment or medical decision-making,” said the doctor’s attorney Steven Warshawsky. The U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment on the case.

The doctor on trial claims that he didn’t have a policy denying denying service to those with HIV, but instead said that he “practiced to the standard of care” and that HIV medications and the drugs used during a surgery could have adverse reactions.

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