Guide dog allowed in the doctor’s office

guide dog allowed in the doctor's office

A doctor’s office may not forbid a blind woman to walk her dog through the waiting room for reasons of hygiene. Such a prohibition discriminated against the woman because of her disability, the federal constitutional court ruled.

The judges upheld a constitutional complaint by the berlin woman, as the court announced (az. 2 bvr 1005/18). The woman was treated by a physiotherapist in 2014. The practice was accessible either through the courtyard via an open steel lattice staircase. Or the patients walked at ground level through the waiting room of an orthopaedic practice in the same building. The woman had already crossed the practice several times with her dog – until the doctors forbade her to do so and told her to go through the courtyard. This way comes for the woman after her representation however not in question: the animal is afraid of the stairs, because it caught itself already once with the claws in the lattice and hurt itself.

Courts in berlin had rejected the woman’s complaint – wrongly, the constitutional judges now ruled. The ban on bringing dogs into the practice was formulated in a seemingly neutral way. In fact, however, the blind woman is at a particular disadvantage.

Without her dog, the woman had to entrust herself to unknown people, let herself be touched and led. This is tantamount to paternalism. The prohibition of discrimination, however, should enable people with disabilities to lead a self-determined and independent life as far as possible, according to the judges. Neither the robert-koch institute nor the german hospital association had hygienic concerns about guide dogs in surgeries and hospitals.

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