Miami Hosptital Tries To Block Lawsuit In Hospital Visitation Casell

Jim Burroway

February 7th, 2009

It’s hard to believe that in this day a hospital will block someone from seeing their partner, especially when  all of the medical powers of attorney paperwork are in place and properly signed and notarized. It’s harder still to believe that such a hospital would continue to defend its inhuman policies.

Langbehn-Pond Family

The case began in February, 2007, when Janice Langbehn and her partner Lisa Marie Pond, with three of their four children, were in Miami, Florida preparing for a cruise to celebrate their eighteenth anniversary. But before the cruise could leave port, Lisa Marie suffered a massive stroke and was taken to Jackson Memorial. Hospital personnel refused to let Langbehn into Pond’s hospital room, even after a legal power of attorney was faxed to the hospital. Pond was pronounced dead of a brain aneurysm about eighteen hours after being admitted to the hospital. The only time Langbehn was allowed to see her partner was when a priest was giving her last rites.

At one point, a hospital social worker callously defended the hospital’s actions be saying that Florida is “an anti-gay state.” Anti-human would be more like it.

Janice filed a federal lawsuit against Jackson Memorial charging hospital employees with negligence and “intentional infliction of emotional distress.” The suit seeks damages in excess of $75,000. On Friday, Janice’s attorneys from Lambda Legal were back in Miami federal court to argue against a motion filed by the hospital seeking to dismiss the case

“We are here to ensure that families get the respect they deserve at Jackson Memorial Hospital and to prevent Janice’s tragedy from happening to anyone else,” said Beth Littrell, an attorney for Lambda Legal, a national group that fights for the civil rights of gays. “This family deserves to have it’s day in court.”.

Jackson Memorial Hospital is a public hospital operated by the Public Health Trust on behalf of the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners. It is also affiliated with the University of Miami as a teaching hospital.

Jason in Canada

February 7th, 2009

This story makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t believe people can be so mean and selfish. Some people’s kids, eh?

Regan DuCasse

February 7th, 2009

This, and every story like it breaks my heart.
At much of the foundation of marriage equality is protection from this kind of spiteful behavior from hospital staffers or family members of one’s life partner.

The R cruise documentary, called “All Aboard!” is one of my absolute favorite films. It shows so many parents and children who are healthy and beautiful of all ages and backgrounds.
To think that these poor women and their children were subjected to such UNNECESSARY trauma, is what keeps me advocating in any way I can.

A hospital social worker actually said “we’re an anti gay state.” ?!

Wow…and gee, the world is SO much a better place for all those who ARE anti gay, right?


February 7th, 2009

The scalding cruelty to both women and the children aside for the moment:

Having us rely on medical power of attorney is EXACTLY what anti-gay groups have said about us not ‘needing’ to be married. ‘Anyone’ can ‘just get the paperwork’, they claim.

But MPoA does not recognise the importance of the relationship. It merely permits someone to make medical decisions if the paper work is accepted as valid (and people do die in the period that papers are challenged). What it does not ensure is that a partner will be able to hold the hand of a dying loved one and for goodbyes to be said.

We remain as sickened by the treatment of this family as the day the news broke, not least of which because this publically-funded hospital is still acting to hurt and harm those who are left behind. I have trouble imagining they would have treated the fellow team-members of a visiting football group with as little respect. I doubt the priest was treated in such an abusive way.

Being in such a situation is one of the few we two actually do fear. The idea of one of us dying alone, knowing that the other is just outside the door and in their own anguish is a sickening fear. We don’t simply want the other to make medical decisions, we want them by our side.

Anti-human rather than just anti-gay … never truer words said Jim.


February 7th, 2009

You can register your disgust with this hospital by calling their public relations line at (305) 585-7213.


February 7th, 2009

What is the University of Miami’s position on all of this?

Scott P.

February 7th, 2009

I already called. Several people should loose their jobs over this.

Jason D

February 8th, 2009

I guess this is just another one where we’re expected to “take one for the team” so that society won’t implode if we get treated like full citizens. Think of the children!

…well, except the Langbehn-Pond children.


February 8th, 2009

This is exactly why marriages of same-sex couples must be recognized. Social conservatives say that SSM is about forcing everyone to approve of ‘homosexual lifestyle.’ Wrong. Wrong. WRONG!

Jason D

February 8th, 2009

the only people being “forced” to accept it are those who wish to stand in the way of our freedom. Who think their freedom is somehow contingent on our suffering and disenfranchisement, people who think tradition, unsubstantiated beliefs, and hetero privilege are more important than fair and equitable treatment.

Bob Leahy

February 8th, 2009

“It is also affiliated with the University of Miami as a teaching hospital.”

Great attitude to be teaching to students!

With a medical power of attorney in hand, it was none of the hospital’s business who came in to visit. That’s why it called a “medical power of attorney”.


February 9th, 2009

This hospital should be shut down by federal order. Now. I hope this woman bleeds these monsters dry for every dime they have.

This is why I don’t call heterosexuals “straight.”


February 10th, 2009

Now someone explain AGAIN why civil unions should be good enough?

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