Gay Rights: Lesbian Sues Hospital Over Denied Access To Dying Partner
Posted on February 8, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
As her partner of 17 years slipped into a coma, Janice Langbehn pleaded with doctors and anyone who would listen to let her into the woman’s hospital room.
Eight anguishing hours passed before Langbehn would be allowed into Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center. By then, she could only say her final farewell as a priest performed the last rites on 39-year-old Lisa Marie Pond.
Jackson staffers advised Langbehn that she could not see Pond earlier because the hospital’s visitation policy in cases of emergency was limited to immediate family and spouses — not partners. In Florida, same-sex marriages or partnerships are not recognized. On Friday, two years after her partner’s death, Langbehn and her attorneys were in federal court, claiming emotional distress and negligence in a suit they filed last June.
Jackson attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the case on grounds that the hospital has no obligation to allow patients’ visitors.
Following a hearing lasting more than an hour Friday, U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan said he would try to decide soon whether the case could proceed to trial. He gave no specific date.
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