Erin Vaught

A transgender woman was allegedly refused treatment and humiliated by staff in the emergency room of a US hospital.

On July 18, Erin Vaught, who was coughing up blood, went to the emergency room at Ball Memorial Hospital in Indiana, accompanied by her wife and their son.

She was seeking treatment for what she suspected was a lung infection. According to an account of the incident published in the Muncie Star Press, Vaught faced degrading treatment at the hands of numerous hospital staff.

At one point, Vaught’s wife was asked by a nurse, “So is it a he or a she? Or a he-she?” And despite being listed as female on her ID, staff admitted her as a male and allegedly referred to her as “it” and as a “transvestite”.

In the end, after a two-hour wait without any medical treatment, Vaught was told “we don’t know how to go about treating someone with your condition,” referring to her gender history.

Vaught told that she was “embarrassed and trying not to cry” and eventually grabbed her son and walked out.

“The incident at Ball Memorial Hospital is a sad reminder of discrimination and hostility faced by LGBT patients in hospitals across the country. Transgender patients often face the worst of these discriminatory actions,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign President; the largest LGBT rights group in the US.

The hospital, which is conducting an investigation into the allegations released a statement saying that it is “committed to providing care with respect, dignity and courtesy.”

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