Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gay rights and Patient Rights

SUBJECT: Respecting the Rights of Hospital Patients to Receive Visitors and to Designate Surrogate Decision Makers for Medical Emergencies

Today President Obama issued an important memorandum concerning hospital visitation rights and medical directives. In some ways, it could be considered historic, giving not only patients the respect and honor to their decisions, but to give gays and lesbian couples and unmarried heterosexual couples visitation rights that have either been denied, or could be denied. It's all about equality....

“Every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindness and caring of a loved one at their sides,” Mr. Obama said in the memorandum to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, adding that the rules could also help widows and widowers who rely on friends and members of religious orders who care for one another. But he says gay men and lesbians are “uniquely affected” because they are often barred from visiting partners with whom they have spent decades.

Hopefully our President’s memorandum will make the necessary changes to the law concerning hospital care and it appears it will have to be honored by any hospitals participating in Medicare and Medicaid. And it should be that that participating hospitals may not deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

This could affect thousands of people so hopefully it will move forward quickly.

Have any of you ever had a problem with visitation of love one or fear of being denied visitation or the acceptance of a directive?

Read the President’s memorandum here.

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