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Differing Accounts Emerge in Story of Gay Man Arrested at Patient's Bedside at Kansas City Hospital


New information is emerging in the story of a man who was arrested at the hospital for refusing to leave his sick partner's bedside. A story reported by Kansas City's WDAF yesterday quickly went viral. They said Roger Gorley was put in handcuffs after the hospital refused to recognize him as the caretaker of his sick, longtime partner Allen.

The hospital released a statement yesterday saying that Gorley was acting belligerently and "created a barrier" for them to care for the patient:

We appreciate your concern and would like to assure you that Research Medical Center puts the care of our patients as our #1 priority regardless of sexual orientation. We support all the communities we serve. We have a long history of commitment to a culture of diversity. Research Medical Center was one of the first hospitals in Kansas City to offer domestic partner benefits, which have been in place since 2005, and we have had a policy specifically acknowledging domestic partners’ visitation rights in place for years.

This was an issue of disruptive and belligerent behavior by the visitor that affected patient care. The hospital’s response followed the same policies that would apply to any individual engaged in this behavior in a patient care setting and was not in any way related to the patient’s or the visitor’s sexual orientation or marital status. This visitor created a barrier for us to care for the patient. Attempts were made to deescalate the situation. Unfortunately, we had no choice but to involve security and the Kansas City MO Police Department.

We would also like to correct the misinformation about a restraining order. There was no issue of a restraining order by the hospital.

RmcToday, WDAF has a follow-up on their story, saying that Gorley had a confrontation with the patient's brother:

Roger Gorley said he just wanted to be there for Allen, his partner of almost five years. When he arrived at the medical center on Tuesday, Allen’s brother confronted him and told him to “back off.”

Gorley said he had the power of attorney and had every right to be there. However, HCA said Gorley did not present proof of “power of attorney” during that particular visit. “‘This is my brother — I will take care of him,’ and I said ‘No, this is my husband I have taken care of him for some time,’” Gorley said.

Gorley claims a nurse wouldn’t accept him as Allen’s husband and had him escorted out by security. He was later arrested by Kansas City, Mo., police. However, HCA said the decision to ask Gorley to leave was because Gorley and Allen’s brother were fighting inside the hospital room.

“When the nurse went in to ask them to please quiet down and please stop this and they continued, and every time they stepped out it would get escalated, so she stepped back in and asked them to remove themselves for the sake of the patient at the moment,” said Rob Dyer of HCA. At one point, Dyer said security footage shows a nurse backing out of the room and Gorley was swearing at her, pointing his finger close to her face.

John Aravosis at Americablog spoke with Gorley's daughter. She confirms there was a dispute between Gorley and the patient's brother but says the brother "was being more disruptive and belligerent than her father, yet the hospital had her father removed", the nurse knew what was going on, and knew the relationship between Gorley and his partner.

She also says that when the police arrived the struggle to remove Gorley drew blood and the officers freaked out:

The police considered that a violation of a direct order, so they began to forcibly remove him from the room. My father held onto the rail of the gurney as well as his husbands hand with everything he had. The police responded with brut and excessive force. The office began karate chopping his wrist to get him to release the gurney. Then they wrestled him to the ground forcefully enough to knock his glasses off of his face, his hearing aids out of his ears, and nearly break his wrist while they took him down. To handcuff him, they pushed a knee into his back and wrenched his wrists around.

It didn’t end there. The police changed his handcuffs 4 times! They assumed because he was a gay man that he was HIV+. When they drew blood from accosting him in such a brutal manner they freaked out. One of the arresting officers was so offended by my father’s presence that he would not touch him with his bare hands. He wore gloves the entire time and to make matters even more humiliating he didn’t want his handcuffs back. He grabbed them with gloves on, then another layer of gloves pinched between his index finger and thumb as he handed them off to another officer. The officer taking the handcuffs looked at him like he was crazy and just grabbed the handcuffs with no issue.

Meanwhile, the federal government is looking into it:

At President Obama's direction during his first term, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued regulations mandating that hospitals that receive Medicaid or Medicare funds allow patients the right to have visitors of their choosing, regardless of sexual orientation.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which enforces the regulations through coordination with the states, is looking into the situation. CMS spokesman Brian Cook told BuzzFeed Thursday afternoon, "CMS is aware of this specific issue and we are working to gather the facts and determine what steps to take in a speedy manner."

"All Americans are guaranteed the right to receive hospital visitors that they designate, and there are specific protections in our rules for same-sex couples across the country," Cook added. "We take alleged violations of federal rules around hospital visitation very seriously."

Zack Ford also has an excellent set of bullet points on what actually happened, noting:

With these details, both the hospital’s and police’s actions seem more suspect, not less. At the foundation of the story remains the fact that Roger and Allen’s relationship was treated as inferior. Because they did not have a state-recognized marriage, they were regarded as legal strangers despite even having set up the available legal protections for each other. Roger, in turn, was subjected not just to discrimination but police brutality and legal consequences. This tragic story speaks volumes about the consequences of continuing to deny same-sex couples the right to marry and how they continue to be treated as second-class citizens. Notably, not one conservative organization has mentioned this story since it broke.

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  1. If the patient's husband and his brother were fighting in the patient's room, shouldn't both of them have been asked to leave the room temporarily and cool down?

    Posted by: Jack M | Apr 12, 2013 11:26:43 AM

  2. Unfortunate all the way around. As with most families, relationships are often complex and usually f'd up. As more pieces of the puzzle are reveled, it's more challenging to know what actions were based on sexuality and what was really a result of bad blood.

    Posted by: sfjerry | Apr 12, 2013 11:27:26 AM

  3. Um....no, a conservative DID bring up this story. Me.

    This Isn't About Legalizing Gay Marriage, This is About Playing It Smart

    by Kevin Joseph Ryan

    As many here know, I am a conservative and a Republican. However, this story caught my eye as a grievous wrong. I am not against gay marriage, gay marriage is already legal is all 50 states. What is NOT legal is the recognition by those states of gay marriage as equal to a standard marriage. What I would prefer is religious marriage and legal civil unions for all. We’d solve an issue that is both divisive and largely semantic.

    In this case, the couple WERE in a civil union AND had legal power of attorney, in other words, already recognized by MO state law to have full rights and legal privileges as if they were married. When Roger Gorely, the partner of the patient was thrown out of the hospital and arrested, the hospital and the Kansas City Police broke the law, period. I see a very big payout over this, and rightfully so.

    Lee Mansell, the younger brother of the patient in this case, Allen Mansell, had his brother committed. The older Mansell has a history of mental illness and is an ongoing patient of the Kansas City Research Medical Center. The domestic civil union partner of Mansell, Roger Gorley was thrown out at the insistence of the younger Mansell and hospital staff refused to acknowledge the legal status of the two partners. A marriage license in this situation would have solved absolutely nothing, the hospital was already told what they should have done, and failed to listen. The police than exacerbated the issue by charging Roger Gorley with criminal disorderly conduct and trespass. Personally, I hope somebody gets suspended. This is the dictionary definition of egregious.

    To add insult to injury, the hospital doubled down on their stupidity by saying in one breath they couldn’t comment on the situation, but then issued a statement that if they aren’t hung already, this statement should finish them off. The hospital said that Gorley “created a disturbance by resisting security” after they grabbed him and were bodily throwing him out of the hospital in handcuffs. Creating a disturbance?

    A private civilian tries to put me in handcuffs, frankly, should they remain in one piece afterwards, should look forward to a criminal complaint being filed against them for assault and unlawful detention at the very least, and should fully expect a call from my attorneys which may in fact end with me owning their houses. In this case, if I were the security team, I’d start painting Gorley-Mansell on my mailbox.

    The hospital then continued to not do themselves any favors by wrapping up their statement by saying that they “had no choice” but to involve security and police. I love that line. I need to know where I can pick up one of the mind control machines that takes away choice from people like that, cause frankly , it’d come in handy from time to time.

    Of course the hospital had a choice. They could have checked patient records. They could have listened to Roger Gorley. They could have followed their own policies and then followed Missouri state law. They had lots of choices. The first choice they made was not to avail themselves of any of the foregoing choices. The next choice that they are still making was to try to bull their way out of trouble for what they did.

    Yeah, I’m a Republican, proud of it. Yeah, I’m defending a gay couple’s rights. And Yeah, Denise Charpentier, the hospital’s PR lady, time to dust off your resume. You may need it

    Posted by: Kevin Ryan | Apr 12, 2013 11:27:34 AM

  4. Dan Cobb, name calling is not nice. You sound like the kind of person who would get into a fight in your critically ill partner's hospital room.

    Regardless of the circumstances, in what public establishment or business can a person become physically aggressive with an employee and NOT expect to have security/the police called in response? In all seriousness, please respond.

    Make all the excuses you want for Gorley's conduct. The hospital room of a critically ill person is not the place for a screaming fight, even if you're being treated like garbage and you believe your rights are being infringed upon. It is a choice to allow a situation to either escalate or de-escalate. In a state that does not currently recognize same-sex marriages, how is it unreasonable for a hospital to request proof of POA in this situation? The hospital has a responsibility to protect the patient in this way, and they certainly have the right to protect themselves from potential litigation as well.

    Please take note of the fact that I didn't make any excuses for the hospital or police in my first post, I just said Mr. Gorley was clearly not without fault. Don't be so nasty.

    Posted by: Indy | Apr 12, 2013 11:34:18 AM

  5. @Kookie If you read the daughter's account her father Mr. Gorley and the patient's brother arrived at the hospital at the same time. The brother didn't want him there. Mr. Gorley said he had a right to be there because he had the POA and it went from there with the nurse refusing to check and calling the police instead.

    Also the daughter states that the patient requested his husband to be there but was ignored.

    According to Mr. Gorley's facebook account, the brother Lee hadn't been in contact since December. Allen was out with Mr. Gorleys daughter. When they got home the police was there with Lee who claimed Allen was suicidal. Allen told the police several times he wasn't but the police ordered him to go to the psychiatric hospital. When Mr. Gorley heard about this he rushed from work straight to the hospital (which is why POA papers weren't on him).

    Posted by: mary | Apr 12, 2013 11:36:27 AM

  6. @civil lib -- can we stop with the "BRUTALITY!!!!!. He was holding onto a rail and they slapped his wrist. They kneed him in his back which is another attempt to subdue him

    They only did this because he was fighting in the first place. Like what did Gorley think that they would simply go away.

    They could have tased him, pepper sprayed him, beat him over the head until he was down.

    Sounds to me like they treated him as one might a small child pulling a similar fit.

    Its outragous that he is in the situation in the first place but seriously they guy was throwing a fit and having a meltdown

    Posted by: Homo Genius | Apr 12, 2013 11:40:05 AM

  7. @HomoGenius: They were KARATE CHOPPING his wrist, not slapping it. Then they subsequently BODY SLAMMED him to the floor, knocking of his glasses and hearing aids. By any measure, this is BRUTALITY. He is a 50-something year old man, not a methed-up 20 year old resisting arrest!

    When did we Americans, and in particular GAY Americans get unwilling to stand up and fight for ourselves? If you'd been at Stonewall, Homegenius, you'd have crawled meekly up into that paddy wagon and waited for your beating down at the precinct station wouldn't you.

    Posted by: Civil Lib | Apr 12, 2013 11:45:13 AM

  8. Think Progress has some of the follow up. Allen was taking ECT (electro shock therapy) for his depression. Here's some of what they wrote:
    Amanda was taking care of Allen while Roger was at work at Tuesday, but when they returned home from a few errands, Allen’s brother Lee and sister Pat were waiting at the door with paramedics and police.

    Due to Allen’s sluggish state, the police determined he was a “danger to himself” and decided to take him to the hospital against his will. Rather than taking him to St. Luke’s Hospital in Lee’s Summit, the local hospital where his regular doctors are, they took him to the Research Medical Center in Kansas City, which he only goes to for his ECT. They ignored Amanda’s attempts to explain Allen’s medical needs and procedures.
    Amanda called her father, Roger, and urged him to get to Allen’s side immediately. When he arrived at the hospital, Lee was also there.

    Lee asserted that he was not going to allow Roger to make decisions for Allen and that he would instead. This enraged Roger, who replied, “No you won’t! This is my husband. I know what he wants and needs. You are never around. You need to leave.”

    The nurse informed Roger that because of his agitated state, he needed to leave. When he explained that he intended to stay with his husband, she replied, “I know who you two are. You need to leave.” Refusing to acknowledge their legal relationship, she called the police to have Roger forcibly removed.

    Allen, who was in and out of consciousness, objected as he was able, saying, “I want him here.”

    Posted by: mary | Apr 12, 2013 11:49:03 AM

  9. "Mr. Gorley said he had a right to be there because he had the POA and it went from there with the nurse refusing to check and calling the police instead."

    To add to that, according to Gorley's daughter, this nurse KNEW Gorley and his husband. Gorley had signed papers regarding his husband's treatment with this nurse in the past.

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Apr 12, 2013 11:52:14 AM

  10. Make the nurse's name public.

    Posted by: Civil Lib | Apr 12, 2013 11:54:26 AM

  11. @Indy, I'm not sure how you can deduce from what's been reported on this case so far that the hospital was protecting themselves from potential litigation? Deferring to a family member (the brother) who was specifically excluded from making medical decisions over a husband who was specifically designated (in papers they should have already had) to make decisions would seem to be setting themselves up for a lawsuit not vice versa. These guys had taken reasonable steps to protect themselves, and it appears those steps were ignored.

    Obviously, a hospital can't allow a brawl in their room but the cause of the heated argument needs answers. One can easily understand why the husband would be angry--his husband was in an emergency medical situation and family who wasn't supposed to be there was trying to take over. He had a right to be angry, especially if the nurse/hospital went against the patient's wishes (which it looks like it did, though an investigation is needed). Any spouse would be furious in such a situation. The cause of the brother's anger is less obvious.

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 12, 2013 11:55:13 AM

  12. Wait...are you telling me this might be a case of the internets freaking out over an incomplete story that gets reported as news when in fact it's merely conjecture?

    Posted by: Donald | Apr 12, 2013 12:02:30 PM

  13. I really should stop visiting this site. The sheer stupidity and lunacy in the comments is breathtaking.

    Posted by: Steve | Apr 12, 2013 12:06:24 PM

  14. We can't really know what happened, but of course the hospital is going to defend itself with a statement like this.

    Posted by: jimstoic | Apr 12, 2013 12:20:51 PM

  15. It's homophobia. Pure and simple.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Apr 12, 2013 12:33:21 PM

  16. The hospital and the nurse were obviously in the wrong but what the police did does not constitute brutality. The way they restrained and took away Roger was in accordance with standard police procedure. They did their job, although it's painfully obvious that several of them were ignorant in their dealing with Roger in thinking he was HIV+.

    Posted by: Charles | Apr 12, 2013 12:34:01 PM

  17. One can only imagine the trials of dealing with people who are certifiably crazy, as opposed to those wandering around loose like Kiwi.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 12, 2013 12:37:15 PM

  18. My partner has been in-and-out of the hospital since July and, believe me, there are times when I MUST step-in and act as an advocate. Several times when this has happened the hospital staff has reacted negatively to my advocacy although it never escalated this far. I try to advocate in a non-thretening manner, but if anyone at the hospital here tried to remove me from the room there would be hell to pay. I'm not saying that the husband didn't over-react -- I don't know, and as was previously stated, none of us do because we weren't there, but my experience with hospital staff is that the slightest resistance to any order (which they seem to think is their right to give) is met with hostility. I have had to go as far as having a nurse and an attending intern removed from his care team -- all this is to say that hospital staff are not accustomed to being challenged and on the whole I'm likely to come-down on the side of the husband. I am a very easy-going person but hospital staff can get even my dander up by the sanctimonious behavior of SOME OF THEM -- most of them are angels -- really!

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Apr 12, 2013 12:43:01 PM

  19. @Ernie, if a hospital allowed someone to come in and make medical decisions for another unrelated adult without verifying that this person has been legally granted POA over the patient, they would certainly be vulnerable to litigation.

    There is a lot of conjecture here about how everyone except Mr. Gorley should have behaved differently, but there are very few facts being offered. Among those facts we do know: Mr. Gorley knowingly went to the hospital without proof of POA, and he physically intimidated a member of the hospital staff after becoming engaged in an altercation inside his partner's hospital room before being arrested.

    I have great personal sympathy for Mr. Gorley, and this is one of many situations which clearly show why our laws must change to protect members of same sex couples. However, I don't think we should make a martyr of Mr. Gorley, especially before all the facts emerge. His personal conduct shows that he's not exactly Rosa Parks in this situation.

    Posted by: Indy | Apr 12, 2013 12:47:57 PM

  20. I think we're getting a pretty good idea of what happened, based on the eyewitness accounts and background information provided by Gorley's adult daughter.

    Mansell's (great name, btw)police-officer brother was attempting to kidnap/involuntarily commit Gorley's spouse, despite Gorley having legal authority to make medical decisions for his spouse.

    The police-officer brother was belligerent and aggressive toward Gorley, and was insulting him using homophobic language.

    The hospital responded by removing Gorley, the patients legal spouse and medical decision maker, and allowing Gorley's violent, foul-mouthed brother to stay.

    The hospital is now lying to minimize legal liability.

    All clear?

    Posted by: Civil Lib | Apr 12, 2013 12:49:59 PM

  21. @Indy: HORSE$HIT! Mr.Gorley went to a hospital facility under emergent circumstances, where he was KNOWN as the partner of the patient and where it was KNOWN that he had Power of Attorney!

    He did NOT intimidate anyone. He stood up for his rights in the face of abuse by the brother, and refused to be removed from overseeing his partner's care.

    You are a L.I.A.R! for trying to distort the KNOWSN FACTS of this situation to try and make Gorley look responsible for a situation, when it is KNOWN from the FACTS that the police-officer brother and the nurse were in the wrong.

    Stop LYING.

    Posted by: Civil Lib | Apr 12, 2013 12:55:52 PM

  22. There's obviously still more background missing from this story. Mr. Gorley should have proper legal papers available and ready for times like hospital visits. He also needs to tone it down, as does the brother. Presumably the brother has legal I.D. and this would be enough for him to be there. Mr. Gorley it would seem hadn't provided the necessary legal papers to prove he also has a right to be there. Nothing more complicated than that.

    These types of disputes are pretty common, and just as often involve heterosexuals.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Apr 12, 2013 1:16:37 PM

  23. @RatBastard: WRONG. Mr. Gorley had previously provided the Power of Attorney, which the hospital had on file and is LEGALLY OBLIGATED to observe.

    Mansell's brother did NOT have Power of Attorney documentation and would, by LAW, have been required to leave the hospital room if so directed by Gorley, given the patient's diminished capacity.

    Mansell-the-Brother was trying to make a power play, and involuntarily commit his brother and have Gorley cut out of the decision-making loop by having him thrown in jail.

    All it takes is for one bigoted, homophobic nurse aided by a bigoted, homophobic brother, aided by bigoted, homophobic police officers to trample on the rights of a legally wed couple who had taken ALL the necessary legal steps for precisely this situation.

    Stop making excuses for the thugs and the bigots and trying to divert blame to Gorley. Either you do not know what you're talking about or you are lying. So just stop with the lies.

    Posted by: Civil Lib | Apr 12, 2013 1:51:01 PM

  24. There is some suspicion that the police officer-brother was trying to involuntarily commit Mansell and take control of some jointly-held assets. This is why he was trying to get his brother committed, and have Gorley arrested so that he could clean out bank accounts and stock holdings.

    Posted by: Insider | Apr 12, 2013 1:53:58 PM

  25. Ok, that is a concise explenation of events and I am inclined to agree with the hospital on it. They also have video proof...

    Man, the news is just one big trap designed to spurn up crap on an issue and ignore the fallout or truth after the fact. It sounds like this man never calmly, outside of the patients room, asked that the hospital honer his POA and SO rights and bar the brother from the room.

    Side note, if someone is sick, grow the hell up and deal with their crappy family, this isn't about you anymore, swallow that pride. I know sometimes things can't be helped, that isn't the case here.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Apr 12, 2013 1:55:50 PM

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