Sue Gibson, HIV Patient in Castlewood Case: Other Patients May Have Been Denied Care
While the wheels of justice were slowly turning, Gibson finally sought treatment at a facility in California. She says that in her condition, the travel "was horrendous," but after a couple of months in treatment she was able to return home.
She says she was interviewed several times by the Department of Justice and says they seemed "very angry" about what had happened to her. Some of that emotion came through in the statement that was released along with the settlement announcement last week:
"Excluding a person from necessary medical treatment solely because of HIV is unconscionable," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Civil Rights Division takes HIV discrimination in any form seriously, and will not allow for the marginalization of those living with HIV."
Asked how she feels about the decision, Gibson says her thoughts return to the woman with hepatitis C who may have been denied treatment.
"It's a very, very serious condition. People shouldn't let it go on," she says. "I feel really bad for that person with hepatitis C that was turned away. I wish I could know if she got help."
(Daily RFT asked Castlewood if a patient was ever denied care because of Hepatitis C, and received this response: "Castlewood denies its staff made the alleged comment to Ms. Gibson, and any allegation that Castlewood discriminates in patient care is false.")
Today, Gibson is still living at home and maintaining her eating disorder, which she characterizes as "walking on a balance beam." She says she's happy with the DOJ settlement, but still shocked by the whole incident.
"It takes me by surprise that people involved in health care would be that ill informed in 2013. In the 80's and 90's I expected that but now?" she says. "People should know that HIV is a blood born illness. HIV and hep C can be prevented by using a condom."