Nancy Polikoff

Outrageous Hospital Behavior

Filed By Nancy Polikoff | June 27, 2008 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: hospital visitation rights, medical

Readers of this blog know that my family policy agenda includes advance health care directive registries, first at the state level and then hopefully linked across the country.

Today there's news of outrageous hospital behavior out of Florida. Janice Langbehn was denied access to her dying partner, Lisa Marie Pond, even after the power of attorney she held was faxed to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Langbehn has filed a federal law suit claiming negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Gay rights legal group Lambda Legal represents Langbehn.

Before someone yells that this is why same-sex couples must be allowed to marry, consider just how long it will be before Florida, the only state that bans an individual gay person from adopting a child, recognizes same-sex marriages from elsewhere, let alone allows them in the state. Florida now has a statute banning same-sex marriage. And they will vote on a constitutional amendment to ban it in November.

We need a fix now and we need it for everyone, gay and straight, single and partnered. I'd like to see gay rights groups take the lead here, and I know they would find allies across the political spectrum. Meanwhile, what happened to Janice's family should be a crime, and I hope that Lambda's lawsuit will help spur a movement for free, easy-to-use advance health care directive registries.

Cross-posted from Beyond Straight and Gay Marriage.

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Gerri Ladene | June 27, 2008 7:39 PM

It's so sad that the Administrators of Jackson Memorial Hospital or any other health care agency that does the same cannot recognize the cruelty of their discrimination! It's truly heart breaking what is taking place for Janice and Lisa. You have to wonder what makes people act in such heartless contempt for others, to know that this kind of conduct is tolerated anywhere in this day and age is really incomprehensible! Should we start calling Jackson Memorial in protest of their inhumanity? I have read stories of this heartless nature of discrimination having taken place elsewhere and it needs to be confronted just as vigorously as any other form of discrimination!

Link to the Jackson Memorial phone directory.

Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization
Patients or family members can also contact the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization's Office of Quality Monitoring to report any concerns at 1-800-994-6610 or e-mailing at [email protected]

When you have a complaint against a person on the healthcare team, call the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration and ask the Consumer Services Unit for a complaint form. The toll-free number is 1-888-419-3456 (press 2). Or you can write them at:

Agency for Health Care Administration
Consumer Services Unit
P.O. Box 14000
Tallahassee, Florida 32317-4000

I'm calling them!

Money can never bring back or replace a loved one, but I sure as hell hope she wins untold millions of dollars against this facility.

This. Is hideous.
I can't believe this happened here in America.