A woman who requires a wheelchair for mobility is suing a Tyler healthcare facility after a doctor allegedly refused to allow her to use a personal care attendant to help her perform a urinalysis test. 

Marilyn Rhodes filed a lawsuit July 24 in Tyler Division of the Eastern District of Texas against University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, citing a failure to reasonably accommodate a disability.

According to the claim, starting in late 2013 and continuing through 2014, Rhodes has repeatedly needed to go to the Health Science Center for urinalysis testing for a suspected urinary tract infection. She requires a wheelchair to move, and requested that her doctor, Dr. Wayne Karaki, sign approval for her to use a personal care attendant to help her with the urinalysis, something provided to her through Medicaid.

The doctor told her that the center's staff would be able to provide whatever assistance she needed, the lawsuit states.

However, when Rhodes went for her test, she claims none of the staff would help her, and she ended up having to do the test herself, and was physically unable to do the test cleanly due to her disability.

The suit states that she asked Dr. Karaki again at her next visit to sign for permission for a personal care assistant, as she had received no help from the staff, and he told her that she didn't need a personal care assistant and it wouldn't be worth the resources to get one, even though Medicaid would have covered the cost.

According to the suit, this treatment violates Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act by failing to reasonably accommodate her disability.

Rhodes is seeking declaratory relief, attorney's fees, costs and litigation expenses.

She is being represented by Brian McGiverin, Joseph P. Berra and James C. Harrington of Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin.

Tyler Division of the Eastern District of Texas case number 6:14-cv-649

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in the Tyler Division of the Eastern District of Texas. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note, a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it only represents one side of the story.

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