“A Maryland woman says she was denied the right to visit her same-sex partner at Washington Adventist Hospital,” the Associated Press is reporting, and has filed a complain with the Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The woman, Linda Cole, claims that the hospital “refused to recognize her as family” and did not let her see her partner Kat Wilderotter until Wilderotter’s sister Kristen intervened:
Wilderotter says when Cole followed her ambulance to the emergency room, she was stopped at the front desk and not allowed to be at her side – until Wilderotter’s sister arrived.
“So Kristen goes up and says, ‘Hi. I’m Kristen. My sister Kat has been admitted and I’d like to see her.’ And the woman at the front desk said, ‘We have family here now’ and let Kristen back. And Kristen brought Linda back. And as they were about to cross through the doors, Kristen took Linda’s hand and said ‘I know what just happened here,’” said Wilderotter.
Watch the local report:
The hospital is attributing the incident to a “misunderstanding between the staff and Ms. Cole.” “I am very sorry that Ms. Cole felt anything less than fully valued when she came to our hospital because as a matter of both policy and practice, we treat all people who come through our doors the same regardless of their faith, tradition, ethnicity or their sexual orientation,” the hospital president said.
Last year, the Obama administration finalized a policy requiring hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid funds to allow patients to designate their own visitors as well as who can make emergency medical decisions, including same-sex partners.