If you read my post A Rubbish Start to 2019 then you will know that a couple of days ago my partner was involved in a hit and run accident. Thankfully he has not suffered extensive injuries, however a couple of trips to minor injuries were required. On our first visit we arrived an hour before they were closing, we took our ticket and waited for our number to be called so that they could check us in.
I went in with my partner, for both moral support and I am currently reluctant to let him out of my sight (even if it was just a glass door separating us). Amongst all the information that he was asked to provide he was asked for either the contact details of his next of kin or an emergency contact. We gave my details since I was there and if anything were to happen I would only be sat outside in the waiting room. His mum was a 40 minute journey away and his dad a 7 hour journey away so it made sense.
Eventually we were seen and asked to come back the following day, as the swelling made it difficult for the nurse to assess his injuries. Upon returning the next day we were once again asked to check in and provide all the details again. As the woman came to the next of kin question we told her that we had provided my contact details. Rather bluntly she asked me if I were his next of kin, to which I told her no I am not. She then became quite rude telling us we were wrong to give my contact details and as I am not his next of kin I would not be privy to any information if the hospital needed an emergency contact.
Now this got me thinking.
My partner was there and was not suffering from any form of injury that would mean he would lack capacity to appoint somebody else as his emergency contact. He’s 25 so obviously not considered to be a child, so why can he not give consent to list me as his emergency contact details? I understand that in some situations like a lack of will, etc… then next of kin is important. However, in regards to medical events it seems almost archaic that one cannot appoint their own emergency contact.
It has now got me worrying that if either of us were involved in an emergency this dated procedure would prevent us from gaining any information about the other’s condition without an immediate relative present. At 24 and 25 we live very separate lives from our parents and so in regards to medical treatment, etc… my partner is the one I would discuss that with.
Upon doing a little bit of googling it does appear that my partner should have been able to name me as his next of kin, if he chose to do so. This appears to be a grey area in which people do not understand their rights.
Has anyone else been in this situation? If you have, or even if you haven’t, what are your thoughts on the next of kin procedure in situations like this? We live in a world where people are choosing to marry later in life, or not at all, so why should their partner be cast aside in medical emergencies? Should an adult not be able to appoint somebody else?