This July Erin Vaught went to the Ball Memorial Hospital emergency room in Muncie, Indiana coughing up blood. Instead of treating her condition, the medical staff ridiculed her and taunted her because Erin is transgender.
As a result of the incident and subsequent publicity, Ball Memorial Hospital is now making lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender sensitivity training mandatory for its employees. The restitution also included the hospital president apologizing to Vaught.
Ball Memorial Hospital’s response serves as a a model for other medical institutions. The hospital admitted wrongdoing, worked with community organizations to design a curriculum, and required training for all staff.
Of course, it’s better to avoid such offensive incidents in the first place. And LGBT patients are not the only ones with particular needs. The incident shows that at Boston Medical Center, where our mission is to provide “exceptional care without exception,” ongoing sensitivity training is still useful to put the slogan into action.