A familiar story from Florida:
When a loved one is in the hospital, you naturally want to be at the bedside. But what if the staff won’t allow it? hat’s what Janice Langbehn, a social worker in Lacey, Wash., says she experienced when her partner of 18 years, Lisa Pond, collapsed with an aneurysm during a Florida vacation and was taken to a Miami trauma center. She died there, at age 39, as Ms. Langbehn tried in vain to persuade hospital officials to let her visit, along with the couple’s adopted children. “I have this deep sense of failure for not being at Lisa’s bedside when she died,” Ms. Langbehn said. “How I get over that I don’t know, or if I ever do.”
Langbehn says a hospital worker told her she was in “an anti-gay city and state” and was not allowed to enter her partner’s room. Although she had legal paperwork faxed to the hospital showing that she was legally entitled to make decisions on her partner’s behalf, she was only finally allowed in the hospital room as last rites were being delivered and was not permitted to be in the room when she died. Lambda Legal is suing on her behalf.
UPDATE: With the notation that this is a “familiar story” I should have made it clear that this incident happened almost two years ago. It’s back in the news because Lambda Legal’s case is just now about to be heard, hence the NYT’s coverage yesterday.