WrestlerBoy saidI have seen this story a couple of times now, and of course our hearts go out to the poor guy, and to others like him, cf. Art_Deco's awful experience.
Thanks for your sympathy. Though to be accurate, it wasn't MY awful experience, but my late partner's before I met him. But here's my own:
I was now living with this guy who went through that. I knew he had HIV, but he seemed to be doing well with it. We talked about drawing legal documents, but kept procrastinating. It was like: "We're still on our honeymoon, when this becomes permanent, we'll do it."
Well, 2 years passed, and we were still very much in love, yet we dragged our feet. At Christmas 2003 he was acting a bit strange, but I thought at first it was his drinking, which had recently increased. Then one morning a few days later he woke up in complete dementia, raving like a lunatic. I drove him to the hospital ER (a harrowing story in itself).
Once there I realized I had no legal status. When the nurse tried to stop me from entering the treatment area with him I forced my way in, saying I was his domestic partner and had critical patient history the doctors would need (and I really did, since he was incoherent at this point).
To their credit the doctors let me stay with him, even briefed me about his test results. But after he'd been 3 days in the hospital they told me I needed some legal documents, or I'd have to leave his bedside.
So I asked our best friend, the President of Equality North Dakota, for an attorney referral. He put me in touch with an aggressive lawyer, who immediately got an emergency court order, an action that would normally take 90 days, making me my partner's Legal Guardian.
It set a precedent in the State, and from that point onward the doctors deferred to me in everything. The tragedy is that my partner's condition was incurable, and he died 5 weeks later.
So when I moved in with my present partner I was not going to relive that horror with my late partner. I told him we needed legal documents drawn without delay. You can always cancel them if you break up, but you can't retroactively draw them if one of you has a serious injury or illness.
We retained a prominent gay attorney (presently a Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner), whose name will get the attention of most hospitals in our area. His legal documents have allowed us to be at each other's bedside with full authority, at every time we've each been hospitalized.
No one has challenged us or denied us. In our county's computerized medical records system we're each identified as the "Next of Kin" of the other. We went to the trouble of making sure that happened, so that no one can deny us access to the other, nor question our legal right to make medical decisions for each other.
I hope every partnered guy here has done the same. Like us, don't set yourself up to be victims of anti-gay prejudice and hatred.