Gibson v. Castlewood Treatment Center: Lawsuits piling up

Castlewood Treatment Center can’t keep themselves out of legal trouble. If it’s not patient malpractice suits, it’s discrimination.


Department of Justice, Office of Civil Rights

Anthony Rothert and Grant Doty

Missouri Clinic Reaches Settlement with Woman Denied Services Due to Her HIV Status

ST. LOUIS –On Feb. 6, the Department of Justice reached a settlement with an eating disorders treatment center that turned a Missouri woman away in 2011 because she is HIV-positive. Under the settlement, the Castlewood Treatment Center, LLC must pay $115,000 to the complainant Sue Gibson and $25,000 to the United States in civil penalties, develop and implement an anti-discrimination policy, and train its staff on the ADA.

For nearly six months, Sue Gibson was led by Castlewood staff to believe that she was on a waiting list for the treatment program, only to be told in May 2011 that she had been rejected solely because of her HIV-positive status. At that point, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Eastern Missouri wrote to Castlewood demanding that it cease discriminating against Gibson and admit her to its program.
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  1. I think that this is a tricky one. I know nothing of the specifics of this particular case.

    When providers are not able to choose who they support, unintended consequences often arise. For example, faith based adoption agencies in the UK have closed their doors rather than come up against the up and coming discrimination laws.

    In my opinion, treating DID/MPD effectively can be 1000x more difficult than you might expect, and it is not for the faint hearted. Consider that many have unhelpful coping mechanisms which might involve blood or other…, those addicted to blood-lust, self-harmers will seek out sharps, or those with rage/anger issues might resort to violence when stressed. If the person you are helping is hypnotically programmed they may have subconscious intention to do harm to themselves and those that attempt to help. I was once asked to chaperone a vulnerable person in a nightclub, and they had a habit of trying to bite anyone who would dance with them in order to draw blood. I later discovered that they may have been HIV+. Yes, ok, I do know some unusual people. This is far from being a simple issue, and I doubt that any judge is aware of the realities of dealing with this world of hurt.

    A drug/alcohol rehab near to me refuses admission to anyone on any medication at all. I tried to get a friend admitted, and they refused him on the grounds that he took pain meds for his back which had been severely injured in a motor cycle accident.

    Additionally I do not believe that it is wise to work with more than one vulnerable person at a time. Group therapy is perfect environment for triggering, and is not appropriate for those with DID/MPD. So I often have to refuse people to come to my home, simply because there may be a possibility of making my friends uncomfortable. Am I going to be fined for refusing to allow anyone with a beard to enter my house?

    I am not saying that it is right to refuse anyone treatment, there could be other options offered (and I can think of a few), but I am saying I myself must reserve the right to do the “wrong” thing if thats what I feel I can cope with, otherwise I will seriously consider not bothering.




    • Jeannette Bartha

       /  02/10/2013

      This latest case is not about denying treatment for DID.

      I was treated for socially-induced MPD. I know exactly what it entails – it’s intense.



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