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Gay Nurses Apologize to Lesbian Whose Partner Died Without Her


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.

Langbehn On Thursday in Miami, several nurses from the gay Lavender caucus of the union serving Jackson Memorial hospital apologized to Langbehn for what she went through:

"The apologies came at a town hall-style meeting Thursday night at Unity on the Bay church, in which Langbehn returned to Miami as a speaker. Baker, Molina and two other Jackson nurses, Jim Nicholson and Diane Poirier, along with 60 other people, attended the meeting. Langbehn, whose lawsuit against Jackson was dismissed in September by a federal court in Miami, gracefully welcomed the nurses’ personal gesture. But she still want the hospital to apologize formally."

Langbehn's case against the hospital, you may recall, was rejected by a federal court in September.

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  1. How horrifying...

    Posted by: Kári | Nov 23, 2009 11:05:28 AM

  2. I am embarassed to say I knew nothing about this. In this day and age, how could her lawsuit be rejected? Unfreakingbelievable.

    Posted by: Geoff | Nov 23, 2009 11:18:53 AM

  3. having just read the link to the October story as well, if indeed the hospital has the 'right' to not allow ANYONE into the trauma unit, i wonder how many times hetero couples are kep apart in this situation? my guess is NEVER. you KNOW if a long-married straight man or woman was kept from their spouse's deathbed like this, there would be a THOUSAND lawsuits filed. the fact that a gay woman had to file this, shows me it was not a case of 'nobody' is allowed at the bedside. it shows me that they 'break' the rules every single day for straight people.

    Posted by: casey | Nov 23, 2009 11:25:51 AM

  4. Casey, I'm a registered nurse and I can tell you that hetero partners are absolutely kept out of trauma areas in ERs during the actual life-saving event but are allowed at the bedside as soon as it is feasible. In fact, nursing is going through a debate right now as to whether or not its a good idea to allow family into the room during such times as a way to begin the closure process.

    However, this woman was kept away from her partner for 18-hours AND told by hospital administration that the hospital was in an anti-gay state!! This is blatant bureaucratic discrimination and if I were working at that hospital they damn sure would be facing another lawsuit for firing me for sneaking Janice in to see her partner. Thankfully, in New Jersey that isn't much of an issue.

    Posted by: JerzeeMike | Nov 23, 2009 1:08:46 PM

  5. thanks, JerzeeMike. yeah, i understood that the family wouldn't be allowed in during the actual trauma treatment, my mom was an RN and i grew up pretty much being her little nurse in training....although i became an artist instead. i just meant that afterwards, as you say, every hetero partner is probably let in for closure etc. thanks for your insights! it's incredibly honorable work you do as a nurse, and you have my utmost respect.

    Posted by: casey | Nov 23, 2009 1:24:55 PM

  6. Not good enough.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 23, 2009 1:34:07 PM

  7. My family was on this cruise. It could have also been any of our families. This is disgusting. As if it wasn't horrifying enough that it happened, to have her suit dismissed is adding insult to injury. "Land of the free?!?" This is when I start to fantasize about Canada, or Spain, or....just hope that Judge Vaughn and all judges that follow him do the right thing.

    Posted by: Rocco | Nov 23, 2009 5:11:31 PM

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