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Saturday, February 7, 2009

You Can't Make This Shit Up

Nearly ten years ago, Bill and I went to a lawyer and had three legal documents drawn up so that we could attempt to enjoy some piece of mind should something terrible ever happen. We have identical wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives that include medical powers of attorney. We were fearful of what might happen given the fact that we are unmarried and were unable to benefit from the rights given to those couples that have a penis and a vagina.

We were, in part, reacting to the horror story we listened to at an National Education Association Gay and Lesbian Caucus Dinner at one of the many NEA Representative Assemblies that I attended as a delegate. A lesbian couple's wishes to to remain together "through sickness and through health" were thwarted by an anti-gay family that dragged their daughter's companion through years of court battles. We wanted to avoid having any of our family members trying to exercise some perceived "right" to determine what happens should one of us die or become incapacitated.

When Michigan passed its own version of the "can't get married or have anything like a marriage" law, we asked our State Senator to find out if all of the documents that we paid for and signed were still legal and valid. After all, we were trying to create a legal relationship akin to marriage. Michigan Attorney General Cox responded to our request and confirmed the validity of our documents.

Now this horror story has come to my attention. Note to self --- Fuck Florida...... we might not want to visit Bill's family there or even pass through one of its airports while going somewhere else....... it may be too risky.

As her partner of 17 years slipped into a coma, Janice Langbehn
pleaded with doctors and anyone who would listen to let her into the woman's hospital room.

Eight anguishing hours passed before Langbehn would be allowed into Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center. By then, she could only say her final farewell as a priest performed the last rites on 39-year-old Lisa Marie Pond.

Jackson staffers advised Langbehn that she could not see Pond earlier because the hospital's visitation policy in cases of emergency was limited to immediate family and spouses -- not
partners. In Florida, same-sex marriages or partnerships are not
recognized. On Friday, two years after her partner's death, Langbehn and her attorneys were in federal court, claiming emotional distress and negligence in a suit they filed last June.


Outraged? Oh, wait:


Pond's medical problems began in February 2007 when she, Langbehn
and their three adopted children were aboard a cruise ship docked in
Miami. The Washington state couple and their children were on vacation.

Pond suddenly collapsed from a heart attack and was rushed to the trauma center.

Though Langbehn had documents declaring her Pond's legal guardian and giving
her the medical ''power of attorney,'' Jackson officials refused to recognize her or the kids as family.

Langbehn, who still lives in Washington, was not available for comment Friday, but in a 2007
interview with The Miami Herald she said, ``Any family should have the
right to hold their loved one's hand in the last moments of life, and
we were denied that.''


Damn the knuckle draggers at Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center!

Bill and I have traveled with our wills and powers of attorney documents ever since we "bought" them (married folk just have to have a ceremony). We should probable get our lawyer here in Ajijic to draw up something similar that the Mexican courts and hospitals will agree to follow.

And, some straight people just don't get it ..... after nearly 20 years --- we should have some rights that are recognized without having to jump through hoops that cause delay and all sorts of emotional stress.

I am still pissed at Port Huron Hospital for denying Billy access to my pre-op bedside....... they gave a damnible excuse that Billy wants to accept and give them the benefit of a doubt.....but I know better.... as I waited, plenty of other pre-op patients had family member beside them. I waited alone behind curtains in a bed that had a nice comfortable chair next to it.......... "no room at the inn" my ass.

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