Finding a suspicious lump on your body is a scary experience for anybody. When New Mexico residents visit their doctor to determine whether or not the lump is benign, they have a right to expect a prompt, honest opinion from their medical professional.
One man was nearly never told he had cancer after his doctor made the conscious decision to withhold the diagnosis. The man, who is transgendered, discovered a lump on his breast and visited a doctor to have a biopsy performed. However, when the doctor realized that the man's gender identity did not match his biological sex, he was "so shocked" that he decided not to tell his patient.
It took a follow-up call from a concerned lab technician for the man to learn of his cancer diagnosis. Not only was the man stunned by the diagnosis itself, but he was even more concerned that his doctor didn't tell him about it.
The negligent treatment by medical professionals did not stop there, unfortunately. When he later consulted with an oncologist, that doctor proved to be hostile and would not advise him of available treatments.
No one wants to receive a cancer diagnosis, of course, but patients have a right to receive the diagnosis and treatment necessary to become healthier. This is the responsibility of medical professionals everywhere.
Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stepped in and asserted that the Affordable Care Act provides protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people seeking medical treatment. It is illegal for medical providers to discriminate based on a person's gender identity or sexual orientation, according to that federal law.
No one should have to be burdened with the thought that their doctor may be withholding a crucial diagnosis or treatment for any particular reason. Failure to deliver a diagnosis in a timely fashion can have potentially fatal consequences. For those who suffer as the result of a delayed diagnosis, due to doctor negligence, New Mexico's medical malpractice laws allow patients to seek justice and hold their provider's responsible.
- ABC News, "Trans Man Denied Cancer Treatment; Now Feds Say It's Illegal," Susan Donaldson James, August 8, 2012
- Our firm has the knowledge to examine the details of a medical case and determine your legal rights. To learn more about delayed diagnoses, please visit our New Mexico failure to diagnose cancer page.