Lesbian couple seeks apology, policy changes from Fresno hospital for denying partner access

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Fresno hospital discriminates against lesbian coupleA Fresno hospital has been asked to apologize, and adopt policy changes after a lesbian was denied access to her partner after she collapsed at the Meet in the Middle 4 Equality march last month. Teresa Rowe, and her partner Kristin Orbin, who suffered an epileptic seizure near the end of the 14 mile march, began to experience discrimination the moment the ambulance arrived.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) have sent a letter to the Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno on behalf of the couple, seeking an apology and the policy changes listed below:

  1. Adopt a comprehensive visitation’ policy that:
    • Affirms all patients’ rights to have visitors, explicitly including same-sex partners and their children;
    • Outlines a clear process for determining when visitors will be restricted and how that decision will be communicated; and
    • Includes a grievance procedure in the case of visitation denial that can be acted on quickly in an emergency situation
  2. Ensure that your hospitals’ non-discrimination policy explicitly describes LGBT individuals as a protected group;
  3. Ensure that that your patients’ bill of rights explicitly describes the rights of LGBT patients;
  4. Provide LGBT healthcare training to the Emergency Department staff at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno; and
  5. Participate in the 2009 Healthcare Equality Index, an annual survey of healthcare industry policies and practices related to LGBT individuals and families.

The Community Regional Medical Center has until June 22, 2009 to respond to the letter or risk possible legal action. The hospital however has already issued a statement denying any wrongdoing.

Rowe and Orbin told their story to ABC7 in San Francisco. Watch:

Post by ILO on 06/15/09 at 11:36 pm