how hard is it to say “I’m sorry”

I was raised or maybe it was innate that if I messed up – I fessed up and said I was “sorry”.  It comes naturally for me.  I know when I have wronged – I say it a lot as a parent when I realize I have been too hard on the kids, or didn’t stop and listen – and those small words – strengthen a relationship not break it down.  I did it in my working years – unfortuantely often – I was forced to make life/death decisions about abused/neglected kids on a daily and sometimes minute to minute and always learned from my mistakes.

So I come back to Jackson Memorial in Miami – why won’t they say they are “sorry” for whatever reason they want to give for why they kept us from Lisa?  Maybe it’s not because we were gay (thought that is my only thought), was it b/c they didn’t find a room quick enough so we could have access – was it b/c they were lazy?  What is it? Underneath it all – maybe my lawsuit didn’t get it correct – maybe there is something more they are hiding – something that is worse than discrimination and hence their REFUSAL to face the children and I for how we were treated.  EIGHT hours is a long time to wait, folks.  Especially if life saving measures stopped at 3 hours.  What is their excuse for the next 5 hours?  They have none, they have given none other than in court that they don’t owe visitation time to ANY family.

After the President’s call on 4/15, and the flurry of press and the attempted backlash of the hospital to discredit me by writing to the President – saying they had a lesbian Charge nurse on call the night Lisa was in their care – so what – that makes it worse in my mind – if she saw our POA – she should have made the extra effort to connect with us – shouldn’t she?

I think JMH has more to hide about what ensued from 6:30pm to 11:30pm on 2/18/07.  I will never know and why they refuse to apologize.  Thank God the current Administration – President Obama and his Chief of Staff – knew we were wronged and has made the attempt to right the wrong.  And given my nature, I will continue to bring this up until JMH officially looks us in the eyes, in person and says those simple words “I’m/We are Sorry”.

So many supporters have written to the CEO and the head of the Public Trust – who both lambasted me in a letter to the President – in the attempt to do damage control following the President’s call – to no avail.  And the hospital dismisses the complaints, the call for an apology saying it’s in litigation – It’s not folks – I lost in court.  The Judge admonished the hospital for their treatment of our family but admitted there was NO law to protect our family.  But I am beginning to feel the peace I have so long sought since Lisa’s death – because should JMH or any other hospital do this again once the HHS regulations are in place – they can lose funding.  If you are in hospital administration – you are on notice now – you can have a huge amount of out GAY staff but all it takes is one bad egg to ruin it for you – be aware and take complaints seriously which JMH didn’t do with mine.  Losing it for months until the first time I spoke out and it hit the papers.  Then they magically found it, but never, NEVER resolved it.  And JHACO who oversees hospital accreditation gets a D- in my book too – I filed a formal complaint also with them for HIPPA violations among other things and I’m not allowed to know the outcome of their investigation.  Our health care system is the opposite of transparent – accreditations standards protect the hospitals – hospitals answer to no one – and worse of all they stand up for staff like Mr. Garnett Frederick at JMH a PhD SW who is not licensed in Florida, is not a member of NASW – so there is no one to oversee his duties but the hospital that has hired him and protected him all these years.  Shame on you Mr. Frederick – I have your SW note and know it’s all fabricated from the date and time you signed it.  As a Hospital SW myself, trained by an amazing woman – when you sign and date your note – it’s the info you have at that moment – but you tried to make yourself look better – and you failed.

But thank God for LAORA, the organ retrieval agency.  How can I go from one minute to having only 5 minutes in the  ICU with Lisa and the kids only rarely to un-restricted access – what changed?  Nothing other than Compassionate and real humans beings caring for my love, my partner and it wasn’t because she was JUST and organ donor – it’s because they were sensitive to the needs of the grieving family.  That includes children, Lisa’s family (siblings and parents) and myself.  JMH needs to learn a thing or two from LAORA.

And ultimately, JMH needs to learn to say “i’m sorry”.  Though it would be too little way too late – at least I know that their policy changes are in ernest and they take responsibility for our family.  One family treated like ours is too many at any hospital.  I have given up on you – JMH – but you know how to contact me and the kids if you ever decide to do the compassionate thing and say those simple words – I’m sorry.


One thought on “how hard is it to say “I’m sorry”

  1. Colin R.

    (edited for the Poster’s privacy)

    To the Langbehn-Pond Family ~

    I know you’ve been told by so many others before, but I so want to express my heartfelt feelings to each of you as a family.

    My partner and I first heard of the horrific nightmare that all of you were put through when your story was read from the pulpit this past Valentine’s Day at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship that my partner and I attend here in Pennsylvania. Tears rolled down my face as each word unfolded.

    I won’t ever compare similar discriminations that we’ve faced as a couple to all that you as a family were subjected to. But it’s only by the grace of God and one caring nurse that called me at 6 a.m. one morning last Summer, to inform me that our local hospital had overdosed my partner, Jim, on morphine while he was under their care for congestive heart failure. Not one actual doctor or hospital administrator notified me that Jim was in beyond critical condition.

    That ONE nurse called me from her own, private personal cell phone, even though, as she said, “I shouldn’t be doing this. It’s against hospital policy. But I just personally felt I needed to tell you that we just overdosed your partner.”

    Jim did survive, despite the fact that his blood sugar was dropped to zero, and his blood pressure to 50/20. I only wish you could be saying those words right now, that Lisa Marie survived.

    Soon after hearing of the unforgiveable manner in which you were all treated that day, I delved further into the details. My gut was wrenched even more deeply when I learned that this all took place at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The reason this hit me even further was that Jackson Memorial is the medical teaching facility of my Alma Mater, the University of Miami. Any pride I once had in my Alma Mater has now been shattered.

    Since learning this, I now want to share with your family what I have been doing since learning that Jackson Memorial Hospital is responsible for your pain and suffering. I know it’s not much, but I hope it helps in some little way. I have been, and will continue sending the following correspondence to every University of Miami and its affiliates’ administrators I can find access to. So far, at least 50 administrators have recieved the following from me.

    You are all in our thoughts and prayers. You’re not alone is this. ________________________

    To my Alma Mater, the University of Miami,

    I am writing to you as an alumnus, not only in response to your email requesting my donation today, but for another matter that deeply concerns me. I understand that Jackson Memorial Hospital is an accredited, non-profit, tertiary care hospital and the major teaching facility for the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.

    In February of 2007, the hospital refused to accept information from Janice Langbehn regarding medical history for her partner, Lisa Marie Pond. She was informed that she was in an “antigay city and state” and that she could expect to receive no information or acknowledgment as family. Even after the power of attorney that Janice held was faxed to Jackson Memorial Hospital, no hospital employee would allow Janice or the couple’s children to see Lisa until nearly eight hours after their arrival.

    Within the past few days, Jackson Memorial has finally changed its unforgiveable policy of refusing same-sex couples and their families from visiting a partner admitted to this facility. For that policy change, I do thank you and any of the hospital administration that assisted in bringing about this change. However, as far as the pain, the utter distress, the failure to allow not only the partner of a dying loved one to say their final “goodbye,” but also to refuse to allow their children to see their mom before she passed on … those pains can never be taken away.

    At the very least, a formal, public apology MUST be given to this family. As of yet, the hospital has not apologized to the Langbehn-Pond Family. Also, it does not have a complete grievance procedure to ensure compliance with the new policy in cases of emergency.

    I had always been proud of my Alma Mater … until now. What’s done is done. The pain you have caused this family can never fully be taken away. The only thing you can possibly do now is to issue that formal and public apology.

    As for myself, you have destroyed much of my faith in the University of Miami and all of its affiliates … for now. That CAN be changed, but I assure you, once my faith in anyone or anything is lost, it will take far more to regain it.

    But that apology will be a first step.

    If you give a damn about what your alumni think of our once beloved University of Miami, you will take action on this matter immediately. Until such time, you are to remove me from any further requests for donations, be it by electronic email, telephone or direct mail. The only correspondence I expect from you will be to verify and provide documentation that my above requests have been fulfilled. Once I am assured that these requests have been satisfied, we can move on in rebuilding trust.

    School of Music, Music Merchandising ’75

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