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Gay Man Sues Doctor For Listing His Homosexuality A “Chronic Condition”‏ Code 302.0

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46 year old Matthew Moore who is openly gay is suing his doctor Dr. Elaine Jones and the Torrance Health Association, a Southern California healthcare network after discovering a description in his medical records notating “homosexual behavior” as a “chronic problem” after undergoing a routine physical in April 2013. “It was infuriating. It was painful. It was another attempt by this doctor and this medical group to impose their agenda of discrimination and hate onto a gay patient.”

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.

Jones defended the description by saying that the medical community goes “back and forth” on whether or not homosexuality is considered a chronic condition. A false argument used by many in the medical profession with an anti-gay agenda.

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,” Heidi Assigal – Torrance Health Association Senior Director.

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.” 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.

Torrance Memorial Physicians Network said that employees unsuccessfully made “every effort” to remove the information from Moore’s records. “Due to the highly complex software used in creating an electronic medical record, the incorrect code continued to exist in an electronic table only,” it said. “As a result, this incorrect diagnosis code was included on a paper copy of the record, which was provided only to the patient.”

“I gave them chance after chance and this time I’m not going to be silent. My silence would condone this activity,” he said. “I don’t want any gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual ever to hear from a doctor that their normal and healthy sexuality is anything other than that,” said Moore, noting that suicides among LGBT youth is higher than other groups. “Maybe we all just saved a life today.”

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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