Monday, February 09, 2009

Let's say you're married & your husband collapses

Follow me through this Monday hypothetical... You've been married for 17 years, and you're in Florida to take a cruise with your husband and children. Your husband is 39 years old and healthy as a horse, but suddenly he collapses, and you and the children are off to the hospital for a terrifying day.

Here's the tragedy: Your husband dies of a brain aneurysm that no one knew he had.

Here's the horror: The hospital refuses to let you into the room with your husband for eight hours. Let me say that again... for EIGHT HOURS, you can't hold his hand, you can't tell him you love him, you can't talk to the doctors, you can't stand by his side, you can't do anything except protest in the lobby. All because you aren't legally married in the eyes of this hospital and this state.

Here's another terrifying reality: You even have a medical power of attorney, but the hospital and it's staff still won't let you see your husband until a priest is performing last rites.

This happened to Janice Langbehn and her children. She was kept from seeing the love of her life, Lisa Marie Pond, as Lisa was dying. Janice was kept from her love's side for no other reason than the fact that the hospital, the state of Florida and some decidedly cruel individuals didn't like the idea of two women loving each other.

This didn't happen 50 years ago. It happened in February 2007.

This didn't happen in a tiny town and a tiny hospital in Kansas. It happened at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Fl.

And antigay activists claim that all same-sex couples need to protect their families are a few contracts like a medical power of attorney. Yup, that certainly worked here.

And antigay activists claim that banning marriage equality doesn't hurt a soul. Yup. No wounds here. No darn-near dying alone as your spouse clamored to be let in. No children crying in a waiting room. There's nothing to see here. Step away from the tears, and the blood and the emotional wounds that may never heal.


Jason said...

This is terrible. If anyone in a hospital tried to prevent me from seeing my partner in a similar situation, I would return to the hospital with my gun.

Diane Silver said...

Jason, I certainly feel your anger, and I share it, but just to be clear: Responding with violence isn't going to get us anywhere. That only feeds into antigay stereotypes and makes it harder for us to win equality. What I'd do is leave the hospital and return with a lawyer and a crowd of supporters, a BIG one.