Lawsuit Filed After Doctor Lists Homosexuality as “Chronic Condition”

Lawsuit Filed After Doctor Lists Homosexuality as “Chronic Condition”
August 19, 2014 Matt LaMond

A Los Angeles man is suing his doctor and a Southern California healthcare network, saying they ignored his request to remove a notation describing “homosexual behavior” as a “chronic problem” on his medical records.

Matthew Moore, 46, who is openly gay, said he was shocked to see his sexual orientation still described as a chronic condition more than a year after he complained about the use of the archaic medical classification.

“It was infuriating. It was painful,” he said of his decision to sue. “It was another attempt by this doctor and this medical group to impose their agenda of discrimination and hate onto a gay patient.”

As reported in September by NCB4, Moore discovered the description in his medical records after undergoing a routine physical in April 2013 by Dr. Elaine Jones of the Torrance Health Association.

The diagnosis was coded as 302.0, an archaic classification from The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (commonly known as the ICD). Code 302.0 “homosexual behavior” was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1973.

Moore said when he confronted Jones in May 2013, she defended the description by saying that the medical community goes “back and forth” on whether or not homosexuality is considered a chronic condition.

Moore wrote a letter complaining about the designation to the Torrance Memorial Health Association and received a prompt apology:

“We would like to unequivocally state that the Torrance Memorial Physician Network does not view homosexuality as a disease or a chronic condition, and we do not endorse or approve of the use of Code 302.0 as a diagnosis for homosexuality,” Torrance Health Association Senior Director Heidi Assigal wrote to Moore.

The association also issued a media statement saying the designation had been used as a result of “human error” and claiming that “upon notification by the patient the record was corrected.”

Moore said he let the issue go, thinking the problem had been solved. But when he obtained a copy of his medical records in May, he said he was stunned to see that while the 302.0 code had been removed, “homosexual behavior” was still listed under “chronic problems.”

He said he later was given a second copy of his records on a CD, which did not contain the entry.

That prompted him to file suit in July against Dr. Jones, the Torrance Health Association Inc. and the related Torrance Memorial Physician Network, alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress and libel.

That suit also alleges that the defendants “engaged in a pattern of deceit and medical record doctoring in an attempt to establish that they had earlier removed and retracted the defamatory content, when in fact they had not removed and retracted the defamatory content until the latter part of May 2014.”