I write to you today from a 6th floor room at Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC).
On Monday, October 22nd, I was taken by ambulance from my home in Annapolis, MD to Anne Arundel Medical Center. I had passed out, become unresponsive, and was suffering from what Doctors would soon diagnose as a potentially fatal internal blood infection, Septic Shock, and severe Kidney Failure. I was admitted directly to the Critical Care Unit where over the next several days they would stabilize my condition and bring me to a point where I am now preparing to be discharged and continue my recovery at home.
In the emergency room, many caring and dedicated Doctors and Nurses cared for me; however, there was one team whose words and level of care I will not soon forget. Dr. Kanak Patel and his Assistant came into the room and explained to my husband Dave and myself the severity of my condition and inquired as to whether I had a Medical Power of Attorney, an Advanced Directive, and/or a Living Will. Dr. Patel’s inquiry was made in order to clarify who was to make decisions if I were unable to, and to understand my exact wishes for continued care and life saving measures should they be needed. Fortunately, all of the aforementioned documents had been previously prepared by an Attorney, and were already on file with the hospital.
If you can, imagine lying in the Emergency Room facing similar circumstances. How you would want to spend this precious time? Caring for the person you love, or having to locate and present reams of paperwork and legal documents to hospital personnel, in hopes that they recognize and respect you and your rights, and do not challenge the legality of the documents presented.
Yes, today, this is a sad reality for thousands of gay and lesbian couples in committed relationships that have made Maryland their home. While opponents to marriage equality and Question 6 profess that Civil Unions and other legal remedies can legally guarantee these rights to all, they fail to recognize one basic principle. LOVE is universal, and like Marriage, is a right and privilege understood by all, with or without a Jurist Doctorate Degree.
I hope you will join me in voting for Question 6 this Tuesday, so that equality and fairness will finally be guaranteed to all Marylanders.
M. Scott Bowling
Bowling is openly gay, ran for Annapolis City Council in 2009, and is a community activist and a champion for accessibility rights for the disabled.