A SEPARATED father has been awarded €2,000 after the Equality Tribunal found he had been discriminated against when he was forced to use a solicitor to access details of his daughter’s tonsillectomy.
The man’s case was decided on last month after he had claimed discrimination on a number of grounds, including that the hospital consultant who removed his daughter’s tonsils had sought consent only from the girl’s mother.
The Equality Tribunal did not find in the man’s favour on those grounds, but did rule that the hospital, which was not named, had discriminated against him when it came to his request for information on the procedure.
The man told the tribunal he only found out that the respondent hospital was the location for the operation in October 2007 after discovering his daughter’s medical bracelet from the time she had the operation, some two weeks later, as the mother refused to provide him with that information.
He later discovered that the consultant had accepted his daughter as a patient and operated on her in the respondent hospital without a written referral from a GP.
The man also said he had not consented to the operation being carried out on his daughter.
When he asked the chief executive officer of the respondent hospital for copies of all documentation in relation to his daughter’s operation and admission, he received a letter in response dated November 26, 2007, in which the CEO refused to give him access to the records sought and advised him that the copies would be forwarded on receipt of a request from his solicitor.
The man contended that this was an act of discrimination based on his marital status and that he would have received the records if he had not been separated.
In its ruling, the tribunal decided that some aspects of the case did not amount to discrimination, but said the involvement of the solicitor did equate to discrimination on marital status ground under sections of the Equal Status Acts.
“Accordingly, I order the respondent to pay to the complainant the sum of €2,000 for the effects of the discrimination,” the tribunal stated.
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