Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation
New Jersey

Gay, HIV patient denied medication, visitors ‘for going against God’s will’

By Chris Frye| Courthouse News Service
Saturday, June 2, 2012

ELIZABETH, N.J. — A gay HIV-positive man says in court that a hospital denied him treatment and visitors, as the doctor remarked, “This is what he gets for going against God’s will.”

Joao Simoes sued Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Union County Superior Court. He says that the hospital admitted him in August 2011, but that “requests for his lifesaving medication were not honored,” and his sister was denied visitation rights.

Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Elizabeth, N.J.

Susan V. Borja, M.D., from the Department of Behavioral Health and Psychiatry, allegedly approached Simoes while he was confined to the hospital’s mental health wing. Borja is not named as a defendant.

Simoes says Borja was unfazed when another patient told her that he had just gotten out of prison, where he served time for murder. But her reaction was allegedly different when Simoes said that he did not work because he planned to go back to school and because of his HIV status.

Borja then allegedly asked Simoes how he got HIV, to which he responded, “I got it from unprotected sex.”

The complaint then says that “Dr. Borja closed the plaintiff’s file, put it down and looked at plaintiff with disgust on her face and asked, coldly, “Is that from sex with men?”

Simoes says he responded affirmatively and that, “immediately after hearing this, Dr. Borja proceeded to exit the room.”

After this consultation, no nurse or doctor came to see Simoes, even though he told them that he needed to take his HIV medication, according to the complaint.

When the hospital finally permitted Simoes to call his personal physician on the third day of his stay, he learned that the doctor had already spoken with Borja about Simoes’ medication, according to the complaint.

Borja allegedly responded: “You must be gay, too, if you’re his doctor.”

“Additionally, apparently realizing that plaintiff’s doctor had an accent, Dr. Borja exclaimed, ‘What, do you need a translator?’ to which plaintiff’s doctor had again responded that Dr. Borja needed to give plaintiff his HIV medication,” the complaint states.

“Dr. Borja responded to plaintiff’s doctor by stating, ‘This is what he gets for going against God’s will,’ and hung up the phone on plaintiff’s doctor.”

Simoes says his sister had been at the hospital when he checked in, but the hospital refused to let her visit.

When the sister came to the hospital again on the day Simoes spoke with his personal physician, she brought her brother’s medication.

“Plaintiff witnessed his sister leave his medication with the nurses’ station and it was not until this time that the nurses, seeing that the plaintiff had witnessed his sister give his medication to the nurses, that the nurses eventually gave plaintiff his medication,” the complaint states.

The hospital’s conduct allegedly caused Simoes to miss five doses of his medication.

Simoes seeks punitive damages for discrimination. He is represented by Kevin Costello with Costello & Mains of Mount Laurel, N.J.

Archives: , , , , , , ,

Filed under: New Jersey

47 more reader comments:

  1. violation of his oath…revoke his license immediately…

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:17pm
  2. This is bullshit.

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:18pm
  3. that sad and dead wrong. I hope the best for this patient. This world is so unjust. SMH

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:18pm
  4. D:

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:19pm
  5. Okay, then they don’t get to call themselves a hospital or doctors anymore…executioners, maybe.

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:19pm
  6. wtf y would people do this to a hiv patient. People these days

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:20pm
  7. I bet its happened before. Its sick

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:20pm
  8. that is so messed up! that Doctor should loose their license, when u become a doctor it isnt to only help certain people its supposed to be to help everyone! and that is def. a reason to sue the shit out of the doctor and hospital for letting the doctor do that!

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:20pm
  9. I feel like I’m being time warped to the 80′s or some such shit…

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:20pm
  10. Humanity is fucked

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:21pm
  11. What the hell… revoke his license.

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:21pm
  12. Most Christians violate the “Will of God” every minute. Starting wars, not helping the poor, accumulating wealth! HypoChristianity strikes again!

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:22pm
  13. Yeah this “doctor” should definitely be in jail for criminal negligence at least, attempted murder might be more fitting though.

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:22pm
  14. so much for the dr’s oath to 1st do no harm

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:23pm
  15. smh.

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:24pm
  16. Leave GOD out of it! So sickening

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:26pm
  17. @ Dara. It’s because he is gay. Not just because of being HIV. Sad bigotry.

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:27pm
  18. Christianity is a cancer, that leads to evils like this.

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:27pm
  19. why cant people live and let live ? the way another person lives their live is no ones business but their own…this doc and all the staff that were involved should be fired and lose their licenses and nursing degrees…then they should all be given something to make then sick as hell and be denied any medication to help

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:28pm
  20. HE IS SOOOO SUED

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:29pm
  21. Lawsuit. The lawyers will be after this case like a shark with blood in the water.

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:30pm
  22. Can you imagine how the doctors parents feel after spending money for 8 years of schooling and still have an ignorant son!

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:34pm
  23. It makes me sad…just cuz someone is gay didn’t mean. There an alien or what ever there still human…and that persons needs help….people should stop judging other people just cuz what they are….i hope that person gets medical help some elsewhere…

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:35pm
  24. It makes me shake my head but also concerns me in terms of how open we can be with medical (practitioners), supposedly there to do no harm, when we don’t know how they’ll treat us if we’re open?!?

    Oh …and I’m wondering about the ‘likes’ …hope they’re NOT in favor of the doctor!

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:37pm
  25. I find it unbelievable that this is a doctor. First what about the oath to do no harm. With holding medication is defiantly doing harm. Also they should remember when Jesus healed people he didn’t ask about their sins or deny healing someone. Who is this doctor to deny helping this patient.

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:51pm
  26. If Jesus helped the sick and poor, how is this against God’s will?

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:51pm
  27. it sickens me and pisses me off. And Ty, Liking it helps you track it if you don’t want to comment so some of it is probably for that reason.

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:52pm
  28. liking a post is a thank you to the poster, nothing more.

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:55pm
  29. The only way this will stop is to SUE the HELL out of these people.

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:56pm
  30. people in this world fucking suck. Can we sue all religion for all the discrimination and hate they spew? for every death they cause wether it be self inflicted or hate crimes. time to rid this world of these ignorant barbaric practices.

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:57pm
  31. Bullshit! when will the hate stop!? hearing stuff like this just makes me feel like nothing will ever change :(

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 8:59pm
  32. I’m glad he has the courage to fight.

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 9:24pm
  33. Where the fuck has this world came to? Go take that doctors license and get your medication. Dumb! Just dumb!

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 9:25pm
  34. Seriously. I think all the gays need to just pack their shit and move to a different state. We pay taxes and the like just like everyone else. They want to treat us like we are less than human enjoy the lack of tax money and other revenue generated by us.

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 9:43pm
  35. Unbelievable. It always shocking to me when people are so completely ass backwards! Especially someone so educated. How dare that doctor treat any person that way!!

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 10:01pm
  36. Strip them all of their medical licenses. Enjoy life without that six-figure paycheck padding your ass.

    Posted on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 10:57pm
  37. It’s hard to believe how one, we are in the 21st Century, and have to tolerate this, and two, we are reminded how religion is used as license to abuse. Horrible

    Posted on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 12:19am
  38. I always feel uncomfortable “liking” articles like this, because I hate the situation, but want the article to show up in more newsfeeds… anyone else ever feel that way?

    Posted on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 12:27am
  39. Tyler: All the time…

    Posted on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 1:01am
  40. There must be legal consequences! That’s inhumaine to say the least! Is this the 21st century?!

    Posted on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 6:29am
  41. Linking to the medical center thru the article shows it to be A Catholic teaching hospital, Trinitas Regional Medical Center is sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth in partnership with Elizabethtown Healthcare Foundation.
    I say revoke their non-profit status immediately as well as the licenses of the practitioner and nursing staff.

    Posted on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 6:34am
  42. Can you say hate and discrimination pure and simple!!!!

    Posted on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 7:07am
  43. Doctor(s) should lose their license immediately for breaking their oath to “do no harm” and I think the death penalty might be appropriate.

    Posted on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 8:03am
  44. This is so totally unforgivable. Someone please sponsor him for a trip to Whitman Walker in DC. They will not turn him away.

    Posted on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 9:27am
  45. There goes this “Dr.’s” license to practice. Disgusting action.

    Posted on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 11:04am
  46. Thanks to malpractice lawsuits, medical treatments are insanely overpriced. If Borja were to lose like she should, all the rest of the staff would panic because they’d have their work cut out for them covering the damages! Like we need treatments to be any more expensive. Blast you Borja! You could’ve tried to spare people from having to pay so much in the future for medicine, and the fact of the matter is Simoes could’ve DIED! We don’t need people like Borja wreaking havoc in the medical field.

    Posted on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 3:09pm
  47. for all the steps forward to be accepted as whole individuals…there are those who believe otherwise…the irony. education by no means indicates strength of character or lack thereof. I now wonder? what shall the md (borja) do when it strikes home?

    Posted on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 4:57pm