Hospital directive gives gays a victory without the fight

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April 16, 2010


"President Obama handed same-sex couples a victory without picking a drawn-out fight with conservatives this week when he ordered hospitals around the country to honor patients' wishes about who may visit their sickbeds or risk losing Medicaid and Medicare money.

"...Many hospitals honor the advance directives or stated wishes of patients. But decisions often fall to nurses or doctors who don't know the rules, said Tara Borelli, a staff attorney at Lambda Legal, a New York group that represents patients in such cases.

"'Hospital staff are often caught in the middle of the family fight,' Borelli said. 'They might not have access to information about what the law is, or assume that accommodating the wishes of the family is the most important thing to do.'"


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