Book Review: Gay & Lesbian Medical Rights 0

How to Protect Your Rights During Illness

 The rights of the spouse are one of the most important benefits of a legal marriage. These rights provide you with the ability to make important decisions regarding your spouse’s medical care when they are unable. They allow you to cover your spouse on your health care policy and have access to his or her medical prognosis as the legal next of kin. In short, these rights enable you to speak for your spouse when they are unable to speak for themselves.

Unfortunately, these rights and benefits are rarely extended to partners in a gay or lesbian union and as a result, many LGBT couples discover they can do little to protect their spouse when that protection is needed most.

But in Gay & Lesbian Medical Rights, Brette McWhorter Sember shows you how to ensure that your rights – as well as those of your spouse – are protected at all times.

In a clear and easy-to-understand format, Sember simplifies a normally complex and overwhelming experience by taking us through the processes step by step.

Should you have a living will? What about a health care directive? Will your partner be responsible for your medical bills? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. While state laws clearly establish the rights and responsibilities of a heterosexual marriage, most do not provide the same rules and guidelines for gay and lesbian couples. In fact, most states don’t even recognize a gay marriage as a legal union, meaning that someone other than your spouse could be declared your legal guardian in the event you became incapacitated.

Coping with medical issues is a complicated and troublesome concern for anyone,” writes Sember, “but for members of the gay and lesbian community, things become exponentially difficult.”

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to ensure this doesn’t happen to you. Through the use of key legal documents, you can protect your rights and those of your partner, giving you both a little peace of mind.

In the book, you will:

  • Learn how HIPAA affects your right to privacy
  • Discover why a health care proxy is one of the most important documents you’ll ever sign
  • Find out how to get financial assistance for medical care
  • Identify unique health care issues that affect seniors as well as transgendering individuals and what you can do about them
  • Learn how to locate LGBT-friendly health care providers

Complete with an invaluable list of resources and websites, the book addresses everything from dealing with discrimination from your health care provider to dealing with post-life issues such as wills and organ donation. Learn more about the laws surrounding medical leaves of absence and find out how to be ready for the medical roadblocks you could face if you’re not the legal parent of your child .

Sember’s pulls-no-punches style gives you the information you need in a concise and straightforward manner. “When you are healthy,” she writes, “all the “what ifs” may not seem to be relevant or important, but it is the best time to consider your situation and make plans for the future.”

At 196 pages (plus resources), Gay & Lesbian Medical Rights can help you do just that, providing timely and insightful information that can help provide for a brighter tomorrow.


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