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Lesbian Couple Loses Baby After Argument with Hospital Over Rights

Brittney Leon and Terri-Ann Simonelli experienced the same old story in Nevada:

NevadaWhen Leon, 26, checked into Spring Valley Hospital on July 20 with complications in her pregnancy, she assumed that her partner 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.

More at the Las Vegas Review Journal...

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Comments

  1. Revolting. Proof of power of attorney should only be required if the patient is unconscious or otherwise unable to confirm the identity of their desired POA. If they are talking to you, right there, you should simply hand them a POA form on the spot and have them sign it. We do it all the time.

    I understand that hospitals have to protect patients from unscrupulous family members and others who try to force medical decisions on them. Most hospitals have a boilerplate POA form for patients in this situation. Was this even offered? Or was the admissions officer just a dope who didn't even know these forms existed?

    Here's the key questions to decide if this policy is simply stupid, or stupid and homophobic: does the hospital truly only require "gay" people to prove POA as the article suggests? Or does it make **everyone** provide proof of legal POA (e.g. marriage certificates, POA for unmarried couples, certificates of blood relationship, etc.)? I have a bad feeling I know the answer.

    Posted by: Yeek | Aug 20, 2012 11:54:53 AM


  2. 100% bogus- if the patient was of sound body and sound mind they are able to appoitn someone as medical decision maker and you don't need an official power of attourney. Now if the patient came in incapacitated that would be a different story, but if she was with it enough to make the legal decision to check herself in to the hospital she maintains enough capacity to name a healthcare representative. It happens all the time with people of all sexual orientations and they can name whoever thehell they want, family or not, to make decisions.

    They should sue those fuckers into the ground

    Posted by: MaddM@ | Aug 20, 2012 11:55:15 AM


  3. They want us to "register" our "partnerships" in states we aren't allowed to marry, and pay for it, for what ?

    So that our names and addresses are listed in a publicly accessible database our enemies have access to so that they can discriminate against us ?

    The piece of paper isn't fit to wipe our asses with. All it does is make us more of a target in most states.

    It's what they want.

    Posted by: BeckieSays | Aug 20, 2012 11:56:45 AM


  4. If anything points out why full and complete MARRIAGE is necessary and is not just some whim, this story does it.

    Posted by: Rob | Aug 20, 2012 12:07:18 PM


  5. This is a great example for headline writing class. Even with 2 moms in the picture, only the biological mother is ever said to "lose the baby" in the medical sense. Saying they both lost the baby implies some legal loss of rights to the baby.

    Posted by: Bingo | Aug 20, 2012 12:13:27 PM


  6. @BINGO: That's what I thought when I read the headline. I thought the hospital somehow got custody of the baby. BAD headline. BAD

    Posted by: AJ | Aug 20, 2012 12:39:36 PM


  7. You can contact the hospital directly at http://www.springvalleyhospital.com/contact-us


    Posted by: Opinionated | Aug 20, 2012 12:46:42 PM


  8. I read the linked article. It does not appear that having a POA is a condiiton of admission to this hospital. The couple says Ms. Leon was admitted, received excellent care, and was treated by a doctor they knew. They do not intend to sue.

    It is discriminatory -- singling out one group for different treatment -- if the hospital requires a POA from same-sex couples only, but not from opposite-sex couples. Does it ask opposite-sex couple to prove they are married? Not all opposite-sex couples are married. Does it require unmarried opposite-sex couple to have a POA? If not, if only same-sex couples must meet that requirement, I would call it discrimination.

    Posted by: james | Aug 20, 2012 12:51:43 PM


  9. You don't uphold traditional values by putting a pregnant woman under unnecessary stress. While I don't think that what happened here is so much an argument for marriage equality (there are better arguments for it), it certainly is an argument for putting health above politics. The life of that innocent child is now lost forever.

    Posted by: Mary | Aug 20, 2012 1:05:19 PM


  10. All these comments are on point. But this hospital's behavior is nothing new. During the AIDS plague, this was standard practice by hospitals. Given our community's legal standing and that one of the spouses was pregnant, it would have probably been a good idea if she and her wife had filled out a Power of Attorney for Healthcare (including Advance Healthcare Directives) in case of an emergency. Until we have full rights under the law, this should be standard practice for every couple. The good news is that you don't need an attorney. You can pick up a form at a stationery store or on-line, fill it out and then have it notarized. Most banks will do this for free if you have an account with it.

    Posted by: barryearle | Aug 20, 2012 1:26:03 PM


  11. I hope that Chick-fil-a and all their disciples are happy. This is EXACTLY the kind of thing that we were fighting against. This was the whole point of it all, so that no one would have to suffer this tragedy. I heard one comment on the news today about this story and the woman implied that because this happened to a gay couple that it was somehow not as terrible and painful a "situation" as it would have been if it had happened to a straight couple. Her comment made me sick. Sadly her statement and opinion reflects straight people really feel about us. Straight people are the ones who are anti-marriage, anti-family and anti-equality. Gay people want all those things, but heterosexuals are the ones who are fighting to deny gay people marriage, family and equality. Are they ever going to wake up?

    Posted by: MikeNOLA504 | Aug 20, 2012 1:45:36 PM


  12. I hope that Chick-fil-a and all their disciples are happy. This is EXACTLY the kind of thing that we were fighting against. This was the whole point of it all, so that no one would have to suffer this tragedy. I heard one comment on the news today about this story and the woman implied that because this happened to a gay couple that it was somehow not as terrible and painful a "situation" as it would have been if it had happened to a straight couple. Her comment made me sick. Sadly her statement and opinion reflects straight people really feel about us. Straight people are the ones who are anti-marriage, anti-family and anti-equality. Gay people want all those things, but heterosexuals are the ones who are fighting to deny gay people marriage, family and equality. Are they ever going to wake up?

    Posted by: MikeNOLA504 | Aug 20, 2012 1:45:38 PM


  13. If the hospital can't even comply with state and federal anti-discrimination laws, how do we know they aren't committing other malpractice?

    The Feds should suspend Medicare payments to this hospital until a proper audit is done of all their procedures.

    Posted by: Eric | Aug 20, 2012 3:39:01 PM


  14. lawsuit

    Posted by: redball | Aug 20, 2012 3:45:22 PM


  15. This is why the fight to eliminate DOMA and gain full marriage equality is so absolutely important. It's the stories like this that could be prevented if same-sex couples were legally allowed marriage.

    Also this line in the linked article said it all for me:

    "When asked if she (the public relations representative at this hospital) was aware of Nevada's domestic partnership law, she accused the reporter of bias and hung up the phone."

    Classic duck and evade tactic there. I too wondered whether this hospital requires unmarried opposite-sex couples to have POA, but after reading that, I think we have the answer. The lengths heterosexists/homophobes will go at attacking our community knows NO bounds.

    Posted by: Francis | Aug 20, 2012 6:55:51 PM


  16. Welcome to Nevada. Where the rednecks are still king. I hope this couple sues this hospital for every dime they're worth.

    Posted by: Macmantoo | Aug 20, 2012 9:14:56 PM


  17. Power of Attorney for health care can, and is, given on the spot in an admission's office. This hospital should be sued and lose Medicare funding.

    Posted by: boone68 | Aug 20, 2012 11:11:18 PM


  18. Ok you moronic GRUBS (Gay Republicans) - let's see what you have to say to these two ladies who lost their baby because of idiots like you voting Republican ? Let's hear your bullsh$t excuses for this one.....

    Posted by: Icebloo | Aug 21, 2012 12:03:20 AM


  19. You featured our story a couple weeks ago. We are the couple that had problems with Spring Valley Hospital and the discrimination we faced regarding the right to make medical decisions on behalf of our partner. I wanted to share a petition with you I started. I thought maybe you can share it with your staff members or any other ogranizations you may know in support of Gay rights.

    Signing the petition would be much appreciated. It will help domestic partners nationwide!

    Please help get the word out so that we can prevent what happened to us will not happen to another couple here in Nevada or anywhere else. Thank you.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/universal-health-services-end-discrimination-against-gay-couples-in-your-hospitals-2#

    Sincerely,

    Terri-Ann Simonelli

    PS-Please read the petition. Note: You do not need and are not required to have a Power of Attorney to make medical decisions.

    Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) updated their rules for hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid. The new rules give patients the authority to designate a representative, including a same-sex partner, to make informed care decisions for loved ones without the need of a Power of Attorney.

    Posted by: Terri S | Sep 4, 2012 4:45:32 PM


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    Posted by: alica | Sep 17, 2012 3:34:47 AM


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