One patient didn’t know what to think after her doctor gave her a strange diagnosis. Alba Aragón, 19, told her gynecologist that she identifies as a lesbian during her first appointment. But by the end of the session, the office handed her a note that said in Spanish, “Current illness: Homosexual.”
A Strange Diagnosis
Aragón, who lives in Murcia, Spain, says she feels very comfortable with her sexuality. She realized she was attracted to women when she was just 15.
She wanted to be upfront with her gynecologist when she went in for an appointment on Oct 4. She voluntarily told the doctor she was gay after answering a series of routine questions.
“I told him that I was gay because I thought it would be an important fact at the time of prescribing any treatment or determining the diagnosis,” she said.
She went to Hospital General Universitario Reina Sofía seeking treatment for her irregular and painful periods. After the exam, Dr. Eugenio López handed her the note in question. She was also asked whether her sexual orientation could be included in her medical records.
Aragón says she was shocked when she read her diagnosis. “The surprise happened when I got home and I read the report,” she added. “It’s very unfair and it’s an insult.”
“I thought it was incredible that up until this day, in the 21st century, these types of beliefs continue to exist,” she told The Washington Post.
She filed a complaint with the health department, decrying what she calls “LGTBIfobia,” and the idea of someone “considering her sexual orientation an illness.”
The complaint was filed by GALACTYCO, a Spanish organization that defends the rights of LGBTQ+ patients, which demanded that the doctor apologize to Aragón and submit a new diagnosis without mentioning her sexual orientation in her medical records.
The doctor told a local news outlet that the diagnosis was a “mistake” that happened while he was transcribing her medical records.
“What can I do?” López said. “It was a huge slip-up. I’m a human being. I clicked the wrong button.”
The hospital is coming to his defense.
Spokesperson Mar Sánchez commented, “The computer system offers a series of fields to fill out the report and, as the specialist has said, he made a mistake when selecting the field where he put the word ‘homosexuality.’”
The debacle has drawn national attention as leaders of the LGBTQ+ community condemn the doctor’s diagnosis.
The Spanish Health Service declined to say whether it has opened an investigation. The same day she filed the complaint, leaders from the hospital reached out to her to apologize. The doctor has also fixed her medical records, according to the hospital spokesperson.
Looking back, Aragón says his diagnosis didn’t upset her, but it might have if she were still struggling to accept her sexuality.
She said the doctor has received several complaints of the same type in the past, which is why she’s asking the Patient Advocate Association to either change him to a new position or fire him.
“In the end, we wanted to tell this experience and publicize it, so it doesn’t happen to other people,” she said.