Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Still Less Than.....According To The Courts

The last family photo.
Lisa Pond [l], with Janice Lengbehn [r]
and their children, Katie, David, and Danielle.

Do you remember the story of Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond, the Lesbian couple from Seattle who were ready to board a cruise in Miami when Lisa was hospitalized? I first posted about it HERE back in April.

Now, there's more to the story.

Here's the gist: Lisa suffered an aneurysm and Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami refused to allow Janice Langbehn access to her partner, even after Langbehn showed proof she had power of attorney over Pond in medical matters. Lisa Pond died, and Janice Langbehn was only allowed to see her as the priest was delivering last rites.

Bad enough; or so I thought. Just this week the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida rejected Lambda Legal's lawsuit, filed on behalf of Langbehn, the Estate of Lisa Pond and their three adopted children, saying:
"Today’s ruling comes after the Public Health Trust of the Miami Dade County, the governing body of Jackson Memorial Hospital, filed a motion to dismiss the case. The court ruled that the hospital has neither an obligation to allow their patients’ visitors nor any obligation whatsoever to provide their patients’ families, healthcare surrogates, or visitors with access to patients in their trauma unit. The court has given the Langbehn-Pond family until October 16 to review the ruling and consider all legal options."

Jackson Memorial Hospital released their own statement:

"We have always believed and known that the staff at Jackson treats everyone equally, and that their main concern is the well-being of the patients in their care. …Jackson will continue to work with the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community to ensure that everyone knows they are welcome at all of our facilities, where they will receive the highest quality of medical care."

Nice words. Too bad they weren't put into action as Lisa Pond was dying and her partner was trying to see her. It certainly doesn't lend much creedance to that one line: 'everyone knows they are welcome at all our facilities.'

So, again, as I said in that earlier post on this issue, when people ask why marriage equality is so important, remember Janice and Lisa and their children. Remember that, simply because of their sexual orientation and the fact that they could not legally marry, they were denied the same rights available to any other heterosexual couple.

We don't have the right to marry.
We don't have the right to hold our partner's hand as they lay dying.

Remember that.


Michael Rivers said...

Stuff like this is so disgusting. Anyone associated with that hospital should be ashamed.

lelocolon said...

Oh the language of bias, and the hospital. I wish for ACT-UP to come back, so bad I can even taste it.