Saturday, March 04, 2006

And He's An Elected Official!

So much ignorance in the world... and hatred.


Surviving family members of Claude Welch who died of a heart attack are suing a West Virginia police chief after the police chief physically prevented his friend from performing CPR. The police chief blocked the CPR because he falsely assumed that the man, who was gay, was HIV positive and therefore a health risk.

"I'm heartbroken that I have lost my son over such ignorance and bigotry," said Helen Green, mother of Claude Green, Jr., who died at the age of 43. "I can't understand how someone who is supposed to protect the people of Welch could physically block another human from saving my son's life."

The ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of the surviving family members of Claude Green, Jr. against the City of Welch and Robert K. Bowman, Welch's Chief of Police. The lawsuit charges that Bowman discriminated against Green by preventing others from providing life-saving medical care to Green because of his sexual orientation and/or perceived HIV status.

Green suffered a heart attack while driving with Billy Snead, a friend, last summer. Snead was performing CPR by the side of the road when Bowman arrived and told him to stop because Green was HIV positive. Although Snead didn't stop, Bowman physically barred him from continuing CPR at a critical point in Green's resuscitation. Snead, who had not realized at first that Bowman was a police officer, obeyed his commands.

While Green fought to stay alive, Bowman prevented anyone else from aiding Green until EMS workers arrived. As they were putting Green in the ambulance, Bowman informed EMS workers that Green was HIV positive. EMS workers ignored Bowman's warnings and performed CPR, but he passed away shortly after arriving at the hospital. He did not have HIV.


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