Monday, May 18, 2009

Why marriage and acceptance of our families matters

Because keeping a woman from her spouse's bedside is a tragedy. The truly chilling thing about the Janice Langbehn-Lisa Ponds case is that they had all the legal papers and health care powers of attorney that we're supposed to get. And those papers did nothing to protect them. I've reported on this case before, but not on the other one mentioned in the NY times article.
A similar lawsuit is under way in Washington State, where Sharon Reed says she was denied access to her partner of 17 years, Jo Ann Ritchie, who was dying of liver failure. Although the hospital had liberal visitation policies, a night nurse from an employment agency insisted that Ms. Reed leave her partner’s room, the lawsuit says.

“One of the things her partner said to her was, ‘I’m afraid of dying. Don’t leave me alone,’ ” said Judith A. Lonnquist, a lawyer for Ms. Reed. “That’s why the suffering was so enormous — she felt as if her partner was thinking she had betrayed her trust.”

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