HRC Blog

Take Action to Protect Yourself & Your Family in Medical Emergencies

President Obama, in signing the memorandum last week expanding hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples, reminded us that too often we hear stories of hospital staff denying people the chance to be at their partner’s side during a medical emergency. Sadly, some people have even been forced to die alone, as their partner sat in the waiting room. The Presidential Memorandum will put an end to these sad stories, but only if we take the proper steps before tragedy strikes. We must have the proper legal documentation in place. To ensure your family and friends can be by your side in a medical emergency, have visitation forms filled out ahead of time. Also, have a health care proxy and living will in place so your partner, or those closest to you, can make important medical decisions on your behalf. HEI_cover_09Sound confusing? It’s not. You can find out more and download sample health care forms on our website. Take a little time to get your paperwork in order. It will make a world of difference when it matters the most. While you’re at it, check out HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index, our groundbreaking nationwide report on healthcare facilities’ policies around LGBT people. This index was a key resource in our efforts with the White House to expand hospital visitation rights. You’ll find it very informative and helpful when choosing a hospital. The hospital isn’t the only place we face legal challenges. Without full marriage equality, the burden is ours in making sure our families are protected under the law. Take a look at this very useful list of legal documents to help protect your family. A little planning will provide a lot of protection.

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