A Texas doctor is choosing to ignore a physician oath of "do no harm," because a patient once sued his son-in-law.
Paraplegic Derrick Roberts has filed a lawsuit against urologist Dr. Donald Wikoff, who accepts Roberts' insurance and is familiar with the type of catheter the paraplegic must use. Wikoff's office is in Paris, Texas, which is closer to Roberts' home in Cooper, KHOU reported. There are currently only two urologists on Roberts' insurance plan in Paris, however, Roberts is the only one that treats patients with that type of catheter.
So, he made an appointment and went into the appointment. But then something took a turn. Wikoff brought him into an office and told him the "bad news."
“He told me he couldn’t see me,” Roberts recalled. It was odd since Wikoff had already done an examination to determine “how much blood was in his urine to determine whether or not it was a serious medical issue."
But last year, Roberts was party to a lawsuit with eight African-American co-workers alleging they were discriminated against in their workplace, Sanitation Solutions. The company is owned by Wikoff’s son-in-law.
The lawsuit Roberts has since begun includes a video deposition of the doctor, who refused to answer whether he wouldn't treat Roberts due to the past lawsuit. However, he did say that race was not a factor in his decision.
Wikoff said that he doesn't recall a time in his 35 years of practicing that he has ever refused a patient. When asked, however, if he could discriminate based on race, he said it was within his right.
“Sure, I can. I can if I so choose for whatever reason. I just say I don’t want to provide you care. I’m fully within my rights to do so,” he said. “The federal government does not tell me who I can see and who I can’t or who I should see and who I have to. That is not their prerogative.”
Federal law actually says otherwise.
“The Civil Rights Act prevents Dr. Wikoff from refusing to treat patients on the basis of race,” Roberts’ attorney Jay Ellwanger explained. “Dr. Wikoff refused to treat Roberts based on a lawsuit he filed to protect himself against racial discrimination, so the correlation is clear.”
Wikoff is bound by that requirement and those laws since he takes federal funds for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
The doctor also even noted in his deposition that the concern Roberts has could become a serious issue. He said specifically that “blood in a patient’s urine could be serious and become an emergent matter.”
Roberts, grew up in the rodeo world, but it wasn't an accident on a horse that broke his neck in three places and crushed his shoulders. Instead it was a car crash last year that flipped his truck. He believes that anything is possible, but that it isn't likely he'll ever walk again.