Main | Monday, August 20, 2012

NEVADA: Domestic Partnered Lesbian Couple Denied Hospital Decision Rights

A lesbian couple in Nevada say they were denied the right to make medical decisions for each other despite being in a legally recognized domestic partnership which grants them that right.
When [Brittney] Leon, 26, checked into Spring Valley Hospital on July 20 with complications in her pregnancy, she assumed that her partner [Terri] Simonelli, 41, could make any necessary medical decisions if she suffered unforeseen problems. But that's not what happened, they said. An admissions officer told them the hospital policy required gay partners to secure power of attorney before making any medical decisions for each other. They protested, even offering to go home and return with their domestic partnership document. But they said the admissions officer told them that didn't matter - Simonelli would need a power of attorney. Considering Leon's condition, Simonelli wasn't in a position to argue or spend hours running to a law office. But the admission officer's words left them devastated in a moment that they already were under extreme stress. Leon ended up losing her baby.
A spokesman for the hospital hung up on a reporter who called to inquire about their policy. A lawyer interviewed about the couple's case said they have little legal recourse other than to file a complaint with the Nevada Human Rights Commission, which they say have no current plans to do. (Tipped by JMG reader Forcebear)

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