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Hospital Visitation Denied Again

Jim Burroway

February 25th, 2008

Opponents to gay marriage routinely claim that gay couples can get all the legal protections of marriage through other means. Well that’s a crock:

Four months ago, Lacey resident Janice Langbehn, her partner Lisa Pond and their children Katie, David and Danielle, ages 10 to 13, were set for a relaxing cruise from Miami to the Bahamas.

But Pond, Langbehn’s partner for nearly 18 years, was stricken in Miami with a brain aneurysm and died. The family says the way they were treated by hospital staff compounded their shock and grief.

Langbehn, a social worker, said officials at the University of Miami, Jackson Memorial Hospital did not recognize her or their jointly adopted children as part of Pond’s family. They were not allowed to be with her in the emergency room, and Langbehn’s authority to make decisions for Pond was not recognized.

Here’s the kicker:

After Pond was taken to the emergency room, Langbehn said she was informed by a social worker that they were in an “anti-gay state” and that they needed legal paperwork before Langbehn could see Pond. Even after a friend in Olympia faxed the legal documents that showed that Pond had authorized Langbehn to make medical decisions for her, Langbehn said she wasn’t invited to be with her partner or told anything about her condition.

That’s right. Even with all of the legal paperwork in hand (and even though a straight couple would not have to show any sort of proof), Janice still wasn’t allowed to make any medical conditions, or even to sit alongside her partner as she lay dying. It took a Catholic priest to finally intervene as he administered last rites.

The doctors’ attitudes suddenly changed when they discovered that Lisa was an organ donor candidate. But since her death, the hospital reversed course again. The still haven’t given Janice Lisa’s medical records, and the county hasn’t provided her Lisa’s death certificate, items needed for their two children’s Social Security benefits.

Comments

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Dana
February 25th, 2008 | LINK

This is a heartbreaking story. Note, however, that it is in fact from early 2007. Further details are on the family’s Web site, including the fact that the cruise in question was an R Family vacation–as LGBT friendly as it gets.

Priya Lynn
February 26th, 2008 | LINK

There’s that “love the sinner, hate the sin” philosophy in action.

Timothy Kincaid
February 26th, 2008 | LINK

All those self-righteous protectors of marriage, family, and Our Christian Heritage in the name of God should crack open their dusty Bibles and read James 1:27

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress … ”

Oh, and lest we think that this is not the right context, read the first few chapters of James. It’s about self-righteousness and arrogance, about selecting some folks as more worthy than others. The book of James actually tells us that if we kept the entire Law and then didn’t love our neighbor as ourself then we are guilty of breaking all the Law.

SharonB
February 27th, 2008 | LINK

Lawsuit.

BIG lawsuit.

LOTS of Zeros.

They will understand that!

AmberK
March 4th, 2008 | LINK

This is such a heartbreaking story. I am researching LGBT rights for a debate at school and I am going to tell this story to my class so they understand the hardships that gay couples experience.

Why is marriage equality so important? « break the terror
June 27th, 2008 | LINK

[...] cruise to celebrate their eighteenth anniversary. But before the cruise could leave port, Ms. Pond suffered a massive stroke and was taken to Jackson Memorial. But hospital personnel refused to let Langbehn into Pond’s hospital room, even after a legal [...]

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