Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami blocks visits from same-sex partners

We received this alert from the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.

Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond, together 18 years, were about to depart from Miami on a family cruise with their three children, when Lisa suddenly collapsed. From the moment Janice and the children arrived at Jackson Memorial Hospital, they encountered prejudice and apathy. The hospital refused to accept information from Janice regarding Lisa's medical history, informing her that she was in an antigay city and state and that she could expect to receive no information or acknowledgment as family. A doctor finally spoke with Janice, telling her that there was no chance of recovery. Despite the doctor's acknowledgment that no medical reason existed to prevent visitation -- and despite the fact that Janice held a durable healthcare power of attorney for Lisa -- no hospital employee would allow Janice or the couple’s children to see Lisa until nearly eight hours after their arrival.

Lambda Legal has filed a lawsuit against Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, on behalf of Janice Langbehn and her three children. In its response to the lawsuit, the hospital does not dispute Janice’s account of what happened that night. Instead, it claims it did nothing wrong.

The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) is appalled by the hospital’s positions and, with the support of other gay rights groups, we are establishing the Committee for Fair Visitation at Jackson Memorial Hospital to ensure that what happened to Lisa and her family doesn’t continue to happen to other patients at Jackson Memorial. ... More information about the Committee for Fair Visitation at Jackson Memorial Hospital is available at www.glma.org/ jacksonmemorial.

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