Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fresno hospital agrees to make policy changes after lesbian was prevented from being with sick partner

"A Fresno hospital has agreed to make a change in its visitation policies after civil rights groups complained when a lesbian briefly was barred from visiting her sick partner," reports Mercury News. "Kristin Orbin went into an epileptic seizure on May 30 after walking 14 miles in the Meet in the Middle 4 Equality march in support of same-sex marriage. She was taken to Fresno's Community Regional Medical Center, where she says employees kept her partner [Teresa Rowe] from seeing her in the emergency room, and ignored her requests to talk to a doctor about Orbin's medical history."

In an exclusive with in June of this year, Kristin Orbin said the discrimination started as soon as the paramedics arrived. "By that time, I was going in and out of consciousness. The paramedics wanted nothing to do with Teresa and she had to practically fight them to be allowed to ride in the ambulance. I remember one of them was very nice and agreed to let her ride with me in the back. Once we got to the hospital, they wheeled me into a hallway and left me, refusing to allow Teresa to be with me."

According to Mercury News, a letter was sent to the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Center for Lesbian Rights last month and Fresno's Community Regional Medical Center pledges to train their staff to "ensure the rights of gay and transgender patients and their families are respected."