Several years ago, after a Florida hospital refused to allow a lesbians to see her wife before her wife died, I surveyed local hospitals about what their policies.
Parkland said all families were welcome and told me they were reviewing their policies to make sure that was carried out. As a result of their review, they put several additional protections in place.
Other hospitals in the area? Not so much. Presbyterian, Baylor, Medical City and Methodist either refused to answer or told me they’d get back to me and never did.
Around that time, Baylor even dropped all family memberships at its Tom Landry Fitness Center in order to avoid offering one gay couple the couples’ price.
This year, Baylor declined to participate in the Human Rights Campaign’s Hospital Equality Index, but we know they offer no partner benefits and have no nondiscrimination policies in place.
So when my partner went to Baylor yesterday, I was curious just what sort of reception we’d receive.
I dropped Brian at Baylor in the morning for an examination. At noon, he said a minor procedure was scheduled for 3 p.m. So I headed over to the hospital at about 2 p.m.
Brian listed me as his husband on admission papers.
When I arrived at the emergency room, the only question I was asked was, “Are you family?”
I said yes, was given a pass and taken to his room.
When he was wheeled to the endoscopy unit, the nurses and doctor explained to me exactly what the procedure would entail. After the procedure, the doctor came into the waiting room to tell me Brian was fine, what he found and how I should care for him over the next week.
Of course, any policy of treating same-sex partners equally relies on personnel carrying it out properly. One person’s bigotry set off a chain of events in the case of the fitness center membership. Had the couple’s membership been quietly approved, a complaint wouldn’t have been filed against Baylor and the hospital wouldn’t have received negative publicity during the city’s year-long investigation.
It takes wonderful medical professionals to understand it doesn’t matter who’s going to be caring for their patient. They were just glad their patient had someone to care for him.
Sometimes it seems we spend too much time reporting on the negative and we forget to report when things work exactly the way they should. And something routine like going to the hospital shouldn’t be news. But if I was thinking about just how we’d be treated, I thought others might be thinking the same in case they need to be hospitalized.
In our case, no one batted an eye at our relationship. No one cared. I was simply the family member — the person who’d care for the patient when he was sent home. Nothing special. That shouldn’t be news, but maybe it is.
So I’m delighted to report Baylor passed with flying colors.