10 July 2011

Would She Have Made It?

I was reading this article and thinking about how advances in places where one wouldn't expect them are reminders of how far we still have to go.

Few people think of Indiana as a bastion of diversity and tolerance.  (At one point, it had more members of the Ku Klux Klan than any other state.)  However, in that state, Ball Memorial Hospital has been receiving praise for its treatment of LGBT people.  A year ago, a woman who was coughing up blood was called "he-she" and "it" by employees.  Soon afterward, the hospital implemented training for employees.

Not so long ago, transgender patients died because EMS workers and hospital staffs wouldn't treat them or, as happened to Tyra Hunter in Washington, DC.  She was a passenger in a car involved in a collision.  Firefighters pulled her from the smoking ruins of the car.  To treat her, they opened her clothes and found male genitalia.  In spite of bystanders' pleas to treat her, the firefighters were "honing their not-ready-for prime time comedic routines," in the words of Trans Griot.  She lost seven minutes of critical time, more than enough to spell the difference between life and death.  Still, she was alive--just barely--when an EMS supervisor finally brought her to the emergency room of a now-closed hopital.  The doctor there refused to treat her, and she died of blunt-force injuries.

So, if Tyra Hunter's accident had happened today in Muncie, Indiana, she could have gotten the treatment she needed--and, one assumes, gotten it with courtesy, respect and compassion--at Ball Memorial Hospital.  The question I have is, Would she have gotten there?  I should hope the firefighters and EMS workers are as well-trained as the hospital employees.