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Federal Court Dismisses Lesbian Mother's Visitation Case Against Miami Hospital Where Her Partner Died Alone

You may remember the story of Janice Langbehn, the Seattle woman whose partner Lisa Pond suffered an aneurysm on an R-Family cruise out of Miami in February 2007. Even after a power of attorney naming Langbehn was sent to Jackson Memorial Hospital, the hospital refused to allow Langbehn access to Pond, who died about 18 hours after being admitted. Langbehn was finally allowed to see Pond as a priest delivered last rites.


Today, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida rejected Lambda Legal's lawsuit (filed in June 2008) on behalf of Langbehn, the Estate of Lisa Pond and their three adopted children.

Via press release: "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."

Said Beth Littrell, Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal's Southern Regional Office in Atlanta: “The court’s decision paints a tragically stark picture of how vulnerable same-sex couples and their families really are during times of crisis. We hope that because of Janice’s courage to seek justice for her family in this case that more people better understand the costs of antigay discrimination. This should never happen to anyone.”

UPDATE: More from Jan Langbehn on her blog.

Very, very disappointing.

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  1. Well Keith, let me quite literally read into your words: "I questioned whether they had really spoken to him and suggested that just didn't want to remove them because I was gay. Not responding, he just left."

    This is the only point in your one long paragraph that you mention any form of discrimination. To this point you simply paint the picture of a shitty group of doctors and nurses.

    "Nevertheless, neither of us have jumped to any conclusions nor have we sought out legal representation."

    Yet you write about all of your conclusions, Your partner has a very valid case of negligence that also doesn't seem to have any anti-gay bias, again, just shitty doctors.

    Janice has gone through possible discrimination because of her status as a lesbian, you then relay a story that is not similar, in one large paragraph and then admonish other commenters for pointing out things that you felt were off-topic, even though your whole story is off topic.

    After reading more in to Janice's case it does seem that they will let same sex spouses into the trauma center. It makes me sick that they can't include domestic partner at spouse-level importance, truly BARBARIC.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Sep 30, 2009 2:00:33 PM

  2. Disgusting!

    Posted by: jakeinlove | Sep 30, 2009 3:04:47 PM

  3. Most heterosexuals are pro-discrimination.

    Posted by: Bill | Sep 30, 2009 6:43:14 PM

  4. yeah, given the way this queen went off on the guy who RIGHTLY mentioned paragraph breaks, I'm guessing "victim" syndrome.

    And given her writing style, she's likely not well educated.

    Posted by: Stan | Sep 30, 2009 9:02:30 PM

  5. How much public money does this hospital receive?

    Posted by: Jimo | Sep 30, 2009 9:55:36 PM

  6. Good lord Keith. If I had a dollar for every rude doctor I have encountered I would be a millionaire. Having had a Heart/Lung transplant and having Kidney failure I know what a pain doctors and hospitals can be... and I know when dealing with complex medications, interactions and side affects happen. Be glad that you and your partner were seen, that you evidently had insurance to cover it and that both of you are OK. Please don't complain to me, I take 21 different medications and am on dialysis.

    Posted by: SecretScoundrel | Oct 1, 2009 1:30:12 AM

  7. Florida is a cesspool of homophobia, it is everywhere in reach and virulently open in its display. That is why my partner and I sold our home in Fort Lauderdale and moved to California. Screw those backwood thirdworld neanderthals.

    Posted by: Chris | Oct 1, 2009 1:11:00 PM

  8. @ Keith

    You may not come back to this post but you wasted your energy and time with people like the messed up commenters on this post.

    You write an article about being in hospital and because you don't put any page breaks, the guy who responded to you felt it was decent and genuine to not even aplogise for obv ignoring a heartfelt article NOR show any sympathy but pathetically and with immaturity mentions that you have no page breaks.

    Ok. No comment.

    And to the weird whiners who called YOU a victim because you have no page fr*gging breaks!! Oh my god, what a bunch of arseholes.

    But there is a correlation.

    Compare what people are concentrating on within this post-the use of language, lack of sending sympathy to Jan, the choice to bitch at you because you didn't write in paragraphs and so forth.

    Now compare this with the way Jan and you were treated.

    Correlation? People are sh*t. They don't care about you, regardless of the fact that as a gay person, you probably have more in common with them, than say someone who has never experienced discrimination.

    You can't teach empathy but you can at least throw a life line out there..

    So my adice? Sue, sue and sue. Who cares if you're a happy suer? Who are you living your life for? These people on this blog whom are fellow gays and just insulted you because you didn't have paragraphs in your piece that you obv wrote impassioned OR you and your family?

    Gay, straight, black, white or blue, if I am paying YOU, YOU will give me 100% service. If you are working within the realms of public service, then I'll be damned if you don't deliver stellar work.

    Full stop.

    Posted by: Rowan | Nov 23, 2009 11:16:30 AM

  9. I don't know of any hospital that allows any visitor to a trauma care area. It's like allowing a visitor into a operating room. It's unfortunate but often in the best interest of the patient for treatment to have external distractions minimized if not eliminated.

    Posted by: My | May 7, 2010 11:26:19 AM

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