Kristin Orbin collapsed with an epileptic seizure after marching 14 miles from Selma to Fresno in Saturday’s Meet In The Middle march. Her partner Teresa Rowe was then denied access to Orbin’s hospital room and was not allowed to direct her medical care despite offering to provide documentation that she was entitled to do so.
Orbin said the paramedic told the nurse on duty that she had collapsed after marching 14 miles for civil rights, and the nurse gave her a dirty look and said “ooooh.” She continued, “I asked if Teresa could come back with me, but the nurse told me I was in a no visitor zone. When I asked her why everyone else had visitors, she said ‘those people are different’.” Orbin said she went to sleep at that point, but she was awakened by a nurse giving her the benzodiazapine Ativan, a drug that causes her to have severe migraine headaches. It was then that she discovered just how bad the situation had become. “Teresa was finally able to make her way up to the front desk and convince them to get a cell phone to me. When I talked to her, she said she had told the nursing staff not to give me Ativan, but they refused to listen to her. They refused to take my medical cards from her. They refused Teresa’s offer to have my advance directive and power of attorney faxed over from UCSF.” Orbin said she asked the nurses several times if Rowe could join her, but each time they refused. “They just kept looking at my Marriage Equality shirt and giving me dirty looks,” she said. Orbin and Rowe were not reunited until a doctor intervened a few hours later.
The couple plans to contact the ACLU for help in redressing the situation.