April 19th, 2010 by Admin
Janice Langbehn and Lisa Marie Pond were setting sail on a vacation cruise with three of their four children in February 2007. The cruise was a celebration of their 18 years together as a couple. But, before the ship left port, Pond suffered a massive stroke and was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital (JMH) in Miami.
Because she was not considered “Family” Jackson Memorial administrators refused to allow Janice into Mary’s hospital room. It was tragic that the hospital’s narrow definition of “Family” kept Janice from her beloved partner of 18 years at such a crucial time when she so needed the comfort of her family. Left alone for eight hours Mary slipped into a coma and died. It’s hard to believe that people could have been so callous and uncaring to allow that to happen.
This tragic incident was the catalyst that changed Jackson’s policies and procedures regarding LGBT families. In a move that sets a new standard for Florida hospitals, Jackson Memorial Hospital has adopted a comprehensive set policies and procedures that respect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families. Thanks go to Equality Florida for their work in helping to ensure that LGBT families are respected, protected, and supported. JMH CEO, staff, and administrative leaders are working closely with the LGBT community to upgrade hospital policies and training procedures with the goal of making Jackson a model for how hospitals should treat gay and transgender families and patients.
Just days ago, President Obama sent out a memo stating in part, “Gay and lesbian Americans are “uniquely affected” by relatives-only policies at hospitals. They are often barred from the bedsides of the partners with whom they may have spent decades of their lives—unable to be there for the person they love, and unable to act as a legal surrogate if their partner is incapacitated. In his memo the President asked the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a rule that would prevent hospitals from denying visitation rights to civil partners, effective immediately.
…And not a moment too soon.
“It gives me and my family some comfort to know that by sharing our story we have helped to change Jackson’s policies for the better.”- Janice LangbehnAcceptance Anti discrimination policies Equality Florida Gay Lesbian Jackson Memorial Hospital LGBT Equality President Obama Visitation Rights