A sugarland ophthamologist is suing a state health department over discrimination against her, alleging she was fired from her position after she publicly criticized the state’s treatment of people with HIV.
Amy M. Kuehl, president of the Sugarland-based American Medical Association, sued the state health agency and the secretary of health on behalf of herself and three other medical school instructors, alleging that state health officials and health department officials made derogatory comments about them in public meetings and on social media.
The state health official who fired Kuehr also had been the subject of a complaint against him by an American Medical Society, which said he did not meet minimum standards for public health, according to court records.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in state Superior Court, alleges Kuehls complaint is baseless and that state officials “disrespected the rights of the American Medical Associations and the medical profession by failing to remove the individuals from positions that did not conform to their professional qualifications and ethical standards.”
A state health Department spokesman, Brian B. Smith, said the agency is investigating the claims, and no further action is expected.
The American Medical Students Association, which represents about 1,000 medical school faculty, said in a statement that it has a policy against any sort of retaliation by its members and that the group will vigorously defend Kuells right to free speech.
Kueser was not a member of the association, which has about 3,200 medical school students.
In the lawsuit, Kuehn said the state officials made comments that disparaged her, including “you are a fraud, you are a sick man, you will die” and “you will go to hell.”
“In response, Kueshr said, she decided to resign her position in a public health department position that was not only unfilled, but was also demoted and fired, the lawsuit said.
Kuehn’s lawyer, Mark A. Dolan, said his client was fired for reasons other than “political disagreements.”
He said she resigned in July, and she was later reinstated.
The lawsuit says the state did not provide her with an explanation for why Kueht’s tenure was terminated, nor did it provide her notice that it was ending.
A spokesperson for the secretary did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
Kueser is the latest doctor to sue the state over discrimination.
In November, a group of more than 50 other medical professionals sued the health department for allegedly denying them due process, alleging the state was discriminatory against them by treating HIV patients differently than other patients with HIV who did not have the virus.
A medical resident who said she was discriminated against in state facilities for her HIV status said in her lawsuit that she was dismissed from her job as a nurse’s aide and had her pay cut for her care of the HIV-positive patients.