Woman: Hospital Won't Let Me Visit Same-Sex Partner

Sarah Bray says patient's mother banned her, hospital says otherwise
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2013 10:28 AM CST
Stock image   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – In a case that highlights concerns about hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples, Sarah Bray says she's been barred from seeing her unconscious partner, hospitalized for a drug overdose and possible suicide attempt, because the woman's mother forced Bray to leave the hospital room. Technically, same-sex partners have visitation rights at any hospital that accepts Medicare and Medicaid, but there are many factors at play including who is considered the next-of-kin, the Indianapolis Star reports. GetEqual Indiana calls this case "a clear violation of LGBT hospital visitation rights."

"It's just gut-wrenching because I'm afraid I'm going to get a phone call in the middle of the night and she's gone," Bray tells WXIN. The Indianapolis hospital, however, isn't on the same page. In a statement, Franciscan St. Francis Health says Bray "has been granted visitation with the patient regularly since her admission." Legal experts agree the mother's disapproval of the relationship wouldn't be a solid argument for banning Bray. "It would have to boil down to a medically necessary decision," says one. In cases where a patient can't communicate, however, doctors have the final say. Says Bray: "I know that I have rights, and I'm going to fight for those rights no matter what."

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