One of the worst days of my life was the day my partner of six years, Brittney, checked into the Spring Valley Hospital with complications in her pregnancy. As her legal domestic partner in the state of Nevada, I was there to support her, and was prepared to make any necessary medical decisions if she suffered unforeseen problems.
But despite being in a legal, state-recognized domestic partnership, we were told that without a power of attorney, I wouldn't be able to make any medical decisions for my family. According to a hospital employee, that was their policy.
In a moment when we were already under severe stress, this discriminatory policy left us feeling helpless.
After the surgery, I found out that Brittney had lost a lot of blood. I still shiver when I think what might have happened if things had taken a turn for the worst and I wasn't able to be part of any of the important medical-related decisions.
The Spring Valley Hospital is one of hundreds of hospitals owned and operated by Universal Health Services -- a Fortune 500 hospital management company. It's time for Universal Health Services to ensure that each and every hospital it owns and operates complies to the new laws recognizing visitation and decision making rights of gay couples.
Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) updated their rules for hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid. The new rules give patients the authority to designate a representative, including a same-sex partner, to make informed care decisions for loved ones who have become incapacitated, without the requirement of providing a Power of Attorney.
What happened to us proves that there is still a great deal of confusion on the legal rights of same-sex couples in hospitals across the country. It's time for Universal Health Services to ensure that each and every one of its hospitals complies with the new laws recognizing visitation and decision making rights of gay couples.
Because no family should have to go through what we did -- ever again.
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