Change.org posted this today – demanding JMH give our family a formal apology – there is an attached petition it will take only a few minutes of your time – are you willing to help?
Jackson Memorial Hospital, in sunny Miami, FL, earned a big black mark on its otherwise stellar hospital report card in 2007, when its staff told Langbehn that she was in an “anti-city in an anti-gay state” before shutting her out of her dying partner’s hospital room. The grueling legal battle that ensued proved highly unsatisfactory — the hospital was let off the hook and Langbehn was left high and dry. Although the nursing staff issued an informal apology last November, Langbehn acknowledged that an apology from the hospital sure would be nice.
Although JMH has yet to issue an apology, the hospital has issued a press release detailing the work it has been doing with “a coalition of LGBT organizations and individual community activists” to make the hospital policies “more inclusive of the LGBT community.”
Along those lines, there is a new definition of “family” at JMH. It “include[s] any person(s) who plays a significant role in an individual’s socio-emotional life. This may include a person(s) not legally related to the individual. Members of ‘family’ may include spouses, domestic partners, and both different-sex and same-sex significant others. (PDF)” Additionally, “Solely for purposes of visitation policy, the concept of parenthood is to be liberally construed without limitation as encompassing biological parents, legal parents, foster parents, same-sex parents, step-parents, those serving in loco parentis, and other persons operating in caretaker roles, consistent with applicable law.”
But note, the press release said “more inclusive” and not “totally inclusive.” Reread the last sentence in the new policy, and note a sticky little disclaimer thrown in, for no apparent reason. “Solely for purposes of visitation policy.” This means that in times of emergency, staff discretion remains the law of the land. Furthermore, there is no grievance policy currently in place for emergency situations, leaving same-sex couples with nowhere to turn for help.