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HIV-infected paramedic sues air ambulance company

ST. LOUIS » An HIV-positive man is suing a St. Louis-area air ambulance service in federal court, alleging he was wrongly removed from his job as a paramedic and reassigned to a dispatch center because of his illness.

Clinton Moore alleges in his St. Louis lawsuit that the decision by Air Evac Lifeteam to reassign him to a dispatch center was driven by "misconceptions, outdated beliefs, and irrational fears," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Friday.

Insisting he poses no health threat, Moore accuses Air Evac of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Missouri Human Rights Act.

Air Evac counters in a statement that it "strongly believes its actions were in full compliance with the law and in keeping with its commitment to patient safety and to treating its employees fairly."

The company added it asked Moore to "participate in a medical review process that the Centers for Disease Control recommends for health care professionals performing ‘invasive procedures,’ similar to procedures that would need to be performed by a flight paramedic." Moore would have needed to contact medical boards in the states where he flew to ensure he was "in compliance with our government regulators."

Moore opted against seeking medical clearance, prompting his reassignment, the company said.

Moore, needing the company-provided medical insurance coverage, began his dispatch job in January 2014, six years after joining Air Evac as a flight paramedic. He was diagnosed with HIV in November 2013.

Andrea Weddle, executive director of the HIV Medicine Association trade group for physicians and clinicians who work in HIV medicine, called the CDC regulations outdated and in need of being withdrawn.

Air Evac says it is the nation’s "largest independently owned and operated air medical service provider," with 115 bases and 1,900 employees in 15 states.

A nurse and a paramedic go on each mission, the company says.

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