Saturday, 14 February 2009

Nightmare in Jackson Memorial

Probably one of the greatest nightmares of any same sex couple is if one of them gets ill, gets taken to hospital, and the other is prevented from seeing their ill or dying partner in hospital.

One of the ways of preventing this is to ensure that both partners execute an enduring power of attorney for health matters, so that they cna direct the hospital as to what to do.

Despite having the American equivalent of one of these, it was not enough for Janice Langbehn who (along with their 3 adopted children), except for 5 minutes when the priest delivered the last rites, was banned from seeing her dying partner of 18 years Lisa Marie Pond.

Janice and Lisa aged 39, and their children had travelled to Miami to go on a cruise. While the cruise ship was in dock, Lisa, a previously healthy woman, had a heart attack. Within a short while Lisa was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she died about 8 hours later.

Janice started proceedings in July 2008, claiming that the hospital was negligent in not allowing her to see her partner.

Now, according to the Miami Herald, a Florida judge is deciding whether the claim is sufficient to be sent to trial.

According to the Miami Herald, Jackson Memorial did not allow Janice to stay because Jackson staffers advised Janice that she could not see Lisa earlier because the hospital's visitation policy in cases of emergency was limited to immediate family and spouses -- not partners.

Jackson Memorial is defending the claim on the basis that there was no right for visitors to attend.

Lisa said in 2007:
‘We only want the hospital to take responsibility for how they treated us and ensure that it doesn't happen to another family.’

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