'Lesbianism' listed as problem in North Carolina woman's medical record

Kristina Rodriguez was surprised to find "lesbianism" listed under the "problem list" in her medical history record, according The Charlotte Observer.

Ms. Rodriguez was undergoing blood work at Indian Trail, N.C.-based Lake Park Family Practice of Carolinas HealthCare System when she saw the notation in her record.

"This listed as a medical problem could really set someone back, could mess with their self-esteem and could make them think something is wrong with them," she told WSOC-TV. "I hope to bring change to where stuff like that is not disclosed on your medical record, because that's personal information."

Ms. Rodriguez brought the issue to the attention of the medical practice. Shortly thereafter, her physician and a director of Charlotte, N.C.-based Carolinas HealthCare System told her that her sexuality was noted in her record to prevent physicians from possibly offending her. Her attending physician also offered to list her sexuality in the "notes" section of her record instead.

Carolinas Healthcare System issued the following statement regarding the situation:

"Carolinas HealthCare System recognizes optimum care depends on strong relationships between doctors, care teams and patients. To that end, our physicians and care teams seek information to help them understand as much as possible about patients, their families, and their lives to treat them holistically. Healthcare providers everywhere are working to better understand the best way to include information in the most sensitive and respectful way to each patient. Like other providers, we are continuously working to improve our process and have work underway to enhance our efforts to appropriately collect patient information in accordance with industry best practices guided by the Human Rights Campaign.  

"Sexual orientation is not a clinical diagnosis and we will be working closely with our physicians and providers to ensure that information included in medical records is appropriate, respectful and consistent with our belief in the importance of diversity. We strongly support diversity and inclusion in all our interactions with patients, the public and our teammates, including creating an affirming environment for LGBT patients and their families."

Note: This article was updated Jan. 27 at 5:00 p.m. CT to include the most recent statement from Carolinas HealthCare System.

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