Taking a pregnant partner to the hospital for surgery would be an incredibly tough day for anyone. But Terri-Ann Simonelli says that day got even worse when a hospital employee told her she couldn't make any medical decisions for her partner, Brittney, because they are gay.
"Despite being in a legal, state-recognized domestic partnership, we were told that I wouldn't be able to make any medical decisions for my family," Terri-Ann says. "According to a hospital employee, that was their policy."
The hospital where Brittney was treated is owned by Universal Health Services, a Fortune 500 company that owns and operates hundreds of hospitals all over America.
Terri-Ann started a petition on Change.org demanding that Universal Health services comply with the law and train its employees to treat gay families the same as straight families. Click here to add your name.
The discrimination that Terri-Ann says she and Brittney faced is against the law. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, any hospital that accepts Medicare and Medicaid must give gay couples all the same rights as straight couples, including decision-making and visitation rights.
"After the surgery, I found out that Brittney had lost a lot of blood," Terri-Ann says. "I still shiver when I think what might have happened if things had taken a turn for the worst and I wasn't able to be part of any of the important medical-related decisions."
Terri-Ann is one of far too many gay spouses who knows what it's like to feel powerless and invisible in the face of a medical emergency. She hopes that if enough people sign her petition, no other family will ever have to go through what she says hers did at a Universal Health Services hospital.
THERE ARE LINES DRAWN NOT TO BE CROSSED.