Back in September 2013, a 46 year-old openly gay man from Los Angeles named Matthew Moore noticed that Dr. Elaine Jones had listed “homosexual behavior” as a “chronic condition” on his medical records, along with other conditions such as Crohn’s Disease.
Moore spoke up and complained to the Torrance Memorial Health Association about the code 302.0 which comes from an outdated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) which was removed in 1973.
The group’s Senior Director Heidi Assigal wrote to Moore at the time apologizing for the inappropriate designation saying:
“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.”
When Moore obtained an updated copy of his medical records in May of this year, he found that while the code 302.0 had been removed “homosexual behavior” was still listed as a chronic condition.
“I never said I had an issue with my sexuality,” Moore told a reporter. “So I imagine that she thinks it’s wrong.”
Moore filed a lawsuit in July against Dr. Jones, the Torrance Health Association Inc. and the related Torrance Memorial Physician Network claiming the intentional infliction of emotional distress and libel.
Torrance Memorial Physicians Network alleges that their employees had made every effort to remove the notation from Moore’s record blaming the problem on the “complex software” used to create electronic medical records, software that did not exist in 1973 when the DSM removed the code. Their attorneys have presented a motion to dismiss the suit calling it “vague and ambiguous.”
“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,” Moore said, noting that there are kids who are committing suicide because of this sort of bias against those whose sexual orientation is non-standard.
He hopes that his lawsuit will be a teaching moment for people such as Dr. Jones and the medical group she works for.
Watch the report from NBCLA below.