Lesbian mom fights for justice in partner’s death. Mother and kids denied visitation with dying partner in Florida hospital

A year ago Janice Langbehn’s partner of nearly 18 years was pronounced brain dead after being stricken with a brain aneurysm. While at Jackson Memorial Hospital – in Miami – she was met with prejudice and apathy. Janice and her family were consistently denied visitation and didn’t see her partner, Lisa Pond, until many hours after she was admitted. Lambda Legal has officially sent a notice of intent to sue to the hospital on Janice’s behalf.

“The treatment that Janice and her children received was unethical and discriminatory,” said Beth Littrell, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal. “This letter puts them on notice that we are advocating for justice for Janice and her children.”

While on a family cruise leaving from Miami – Lisa, a healthy 39 year-old, suddenly collapsed. She was rushed to Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital with her partner Janice and three children following close behind. There, the hospital refused to accept information from Janice about her partner’s medical history. Janice was informed that she was in an antigay city and state, and she could expect to receive no information or acknowledgment as family.

A doctor finally spoke with Janice telling her that there was no chance of recovery. Other than one five minute visit, which was orchestrated by a Catholic priest at Janice’s request to perform last rites, and despite the doctor’s acknowledgement that no medical reason existed to prevent visitation, neither Janice nor her children were allowed to see Lisa until nearly eight hours after their arrival.

Soon after Lisa’s death, Janice tried to get her death certificate in order to get life insurance and Social Security benefits for their children. She was denied both by the State of Florida and the Dade County Medical Examiner.

Article adapted by ProudParenting.com from original press release.

4 thoughts on “Lesbian mom fights for justice in partner’s death. Mother and kids denied visitation with dying partner in Florida hospital

  • February 28, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Make sure to have health care proxies and durable power of attorney’s with you any time you travel. Whenever my wife and I leave Massachusetts we make sure to bring them. I don’t think they could argue with that. Some day we won’t need them but till then they are essential.

  • February 27, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    marriage and recognition of our families.

  • February 27, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    i would sue that hosp. and anybody else in florida or any whee that would stop me from seeing or any thing with my partner . you straight people have gone to fare this time as god as my god like yours ur no better then us so get off ur highg horse about gay people .

  • March 5, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Unfortunately, this brief snippet does not go into ALL of the FULL details of this story. This couple did have legal paperwork made up that was “supposed” to allow them access to each other under a medical emergency. Granted that they had to have them faxed to them by a friend back in their home state, but even after they were faxed. The hospital STILL REFUSED to give her partner and children access to her dying partner and their mother!

    Here’s a quick link to a more “complete” version:

    Yes, it is still important to “have all your papers with you” when you travel. Even if you are just travelling to your local grocery store, I suppose.

    Yet, heterosexual, married couples DON’T have to carry THEIR “paperwork” whenever they go to the store or across the country!

    Blatant sexual orientation DISCRIMINATION!!!

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