November 14, 2013 10:15 am -

A woman wants to visit her unconscious partner in an Indiana hospital, but the patient’s mother wont let her.

Sarah Bray, 34, says her partner was taken Wednesday morning to Franciscan St. Francis Health-Indianapolis after a drug overdose. Bray says she was able to visit her partner until her partner’s mother arrived and ordered her to leave.

“This is a clear violation of LGBT hospital visitation rights,” David Stevens, a spokesman for GetEqual Indiana, said about the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals. Bray reached out to Stevens’ group about her concerns…

A memorandum signed by President Barack Obama in 2010 extends hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners at hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid — even in states such as Indiana that don’t recognize same-sex partnerships. It also extends patient care decisions to same-sex partners if they have been designated as the next-of-kin representative.

The patient typically determines who that next-of-kin representative is. But in cases such as the St. Francis one, in which the patient can’t voice that choice, doctors ultimately have the power to decide.

In either case, legal experts say, a next-of-kin representative must make a strong argument to ban someone from visiting a patient, such as concerns over disruption or harm to the patient.