Sydney Local Health District faces HIV discrimination case

After the man died in Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital in August 2010, his treating doctor recommended Sydney Local Health District’s (SLHD’s) Department of Forensic Medicine perform a postmortem examination.

When the SLHD unit told the man’s mother it would not reconstruct the body after the examination for “health and safety reasons”, she withdrew her consent and SLHD did not carry out the examination.

The man’s mother complained that SLHD discriminated against her son because of his HIV status, which was alleged to amount to direct disability discrimination within a section of the Anti-Discrimination Act.

Earlier this year, SLHD asked the tribunal to dismiss the complaint, saying a dead person was not legally a person and could therefore not have a disability, and that a dead person’s relative was not technically a relative and so had no grounds to complain.

SLHD argued dictionary