You may recall the story of Janice Langbehn who had the horrific experience of being kept out of her dying partner’s hospital room back in 2007. Langbehn’s partner of 18 years, Lisa Pond, collapsed with an aneurysm while the couple and their adopted children were vacationing in Miami. Despite her pleas to be able to see her dying partner, Lanbehn was told by the staff at Jackson Memorial Hospital that she was in an “anti-gay city in an anti-gay state”. A legal battle ensued and the hospital was let off the hook. The nursing staff issued an apology to Langbehn but the hospital has yet to do so.
On April 12, 2010, Jackson Memorial Hospital issued its new policy that is intended to be more responsive to the needs of LGBT familes. However, Lambda Legal, which represented Langbehn in the lawsuit against the hospital, feels that “[t]he hospital should issue an official apology to the Langbehn-Pond family and JHS should have a grievance procedure in the case of visitation denial that can be acted on quickly in an emergency situation.”
If you’re traveling in Florida — or any state that is not considered gay-friendly — you should carry documents that protect you in difficult and unforeseen situations.
I sincerely hope that Jackson Memorial Hospital will one day offer a long overdue apology to Janice Langbehn and her children.