Friday, April 19, 2013

By Your Side, Always

I know I can be long-winded sometimes. I plan to work on that, really.

Sometimes I start writing a comment to a blog post only to realize my "comment" has begun to dwarf the original post. This happened today while responding to a post on BosGuy's blog. Please read "Gay spouse forcibly removed from Kansas City MO hospital" then come back for my response.

I have to remind myself how lucky JB and I are to have the support of each other's families and to live in an area where healthcare professionals are accustomed to regularly dealing with same-sex families. In every medical situation we've experienced together so far – and there have been a few – I've been very impressed with the sensitivity and dignity that's been extended to us. It leads me to believe there's been some level of institutional awareness and training intended to avoid these types of incidents and the ensuing negative publicity.

But BosGuy is right: this story serves as a reminder that we can't be complacent, either legislatively or from a personal and practical legal standpoint. Without the standard protections of family law, basic contracts like medical power of attorney are vitally important. The fact that we've been lucky in the past is irrelevant when it comes to the law and, until reading this, has only served to entrench my complacency.

While having medical power of attorney didn't prevent this particular outrage, the fact this couple had one goes a long way to remove any argument that they were in the right and the hospital was wrong.

A simple yet powerful image, Mark Kelly holds his wife
Gabrielle Giffords' hand at her hospital bedside.
Yes, there are rays of hope on the horizon. But I realize I can't let my optimism deter or delay me from taking action now to protect me and mine from the injustice of current reality.

Like BosGuy and so many others, I think this story resonates because I just can't picture myself voluntarily leaving JB's side under my own power.


  1. Well said Patrick and I'm glad it resonated enough for you to give the story your perspective and voice.

  2. Great post. I expressed milk.

  3. So many excellent points and reminders. My thought and comment on other posts has been to ask, "What proof did his brother have?" My family has been dealing with my mom's cancer and not once has anyone asked for proof of my relationship to her and I myself have been hospitalized (once in very bad condition) several time in the past 4 years and not once was my sister asked to prove her relationship to me.

    I'm don't know how she or I would prove that we are siblings - I have no documents, she's been married for 25 years and has a different last name, I don't even have a recent picture. But the hospital takes her word and doesn't ask for proof.