Patient Sues Oregon Hospital After Rejected Accommodations Due to COVID-19

On Thursday a case was filed in the District Court of Oregon against the Oregon Health And Science University. The case alleges disability discrimination against a patient, with aggravating circumstances caused by COVID-19 protocols.

The plaintiff is a patient suffering from Type II Spinal Muscular Atrophy, the complaint said, which is a neurological disorder causing quadriparesis, or extremely weak muscles. They are reliant upon a ventilator and has limited mobility below the neck; as a result, they are reliant upon 24 hour support. The plaintiff said their condition was well documented within medical records and she had attended several specific practices with her caretakers within the defendant facilities prior to this event.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the defendant facilities enacted a strict no-visitor policy to reduce possible contagion from non-patients, with exemptions for certain persons, including fathers of new babies. During this time, the patient experienced an infection which required hospitalization for treatment. Prior to admission, she requested that her caregiver be allowed to support her. Her caregiver was permitted to be present and assist her through the emergency room process, but was rebuffed once she was admitted to the inpatient facilities.

During the entire visit, the filing says, despite requests from the patient for either her current caretaker or in the alternate a support person from the hospital be made available on a 24 hour basis, the patient was denied this accommodation. This allegedly resulted in the patient receiving inadequate care, including muscle strains, secondary infections, inability to communicate her desires regarding treatment, and other patient rights.

The plaintiff is suing for disability discrimination for failure to accommodate and for failure to provide appropriate communications means. The plaintiff is represented by the Law Office of Matthew C. Ellis.