Sunday, October 18, 2009

trembling with rage

Yesterday I read this blog post about the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a the partner of a woman who died alone:

U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan dismissed a lawsuit yesterday, essentially finding that the Jackson Memorial Hospital was within its rights to leave a dying woman alone while denying her present and immediate family to visit her, be updated on her condition, or even to provide the hospital with medically necessary information.

Named in the now-dismissed suit were Jackson social worker Garnett Frederick and attending physicians Alois Zauner and Carlos Alberto Cruz, who made the decision not to allow Janice Langbehn, Lisa Pond’s partner, to have standard family access to information, even after receiving durable Power of Attorney and a Living Will naming Janice as legal guardian with authority to make end-of-life decisions.

I already knew the story:

Hello, I am Janice Langbehn [...] On February 18, 2007, Lisa Pond, my partner of nearly 18 years and 3 of our 4 adopted children: Danielle, David and Katie were on board the Rfamily cruise preparing to set sail. Before leaving port, Lisa suddenly collapsed while watching the children play basketball. The kids were banging on the stateroom door saying, “Mommy was hurt!” I opened the door, and took one look at Lisa and knew the situation was very serious. As a medical social worker for many years, I have seen people in critical condition. I knew that my life partner was gravely ill. As the ship was about to leave, we had no choice but to seek medical help in an unfamiliar city. After local medics arrived, we hurried off the ship to the closest hospital in Miami, Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

As Lisa was put into the ambulance I had no idea when she signed “I love you” to the kids and I it would be the last time I would see her beautiful blue eyes. We arrived at the trauma center minutes before her ambulance. I tried to follow her gurney into the trauma area and was stopped by the trauma team and told to go to the waiting room. The kids and I did as we were told.

We arrived shortly after 3:30 in the afternoon, around 4pm, a social worker came out and introduced himself as Garnet Frederick and said, “you are in an anti-gay city and state. And without a health care proxy you will not see Lisa nor know of her condition”. He then turned to leave; I stopped him and asked for his fax number because I said “we had legal Durable Powers of Attorney” and would get him the documents. Within a short time of meeting this social worker, I contacted friends in Lacey, WA, our hometown, who went to our house and faxed the legal documents required for me to make medical decisions for Lisa.

I never imagined as I paced that tiny waiting room that I would not see Lisa’s bright blue eyes again or hold her warm, loving hands. Feeling helpless as I continued to wait, I attempted to sneak back into the trauma bay but all the doors to the trauma area had key codes, preventing me from entering. Sitting alone with our luggage, our children and my thoughts, I watched numbly as other families were invited back into the trauma center to visit with loved ones. I was still waiting to hear what was happening with Lisa, realizing as the time passed that I was not being allowed to see her and if the social worker’s words were any indication it was because we were gay. Anger, despair and disbelief wracked my brain as I tried to figure out a way to find out what was going on with Lisa. I finally thought to call our family doctor back in Olympia (on a Sunday afternoon at home) to see if she could find out what was happening. While on the phone with our doctor in Olympia, a surgeon appeared. The surgeon told me that Lisa, who was just 39 years old, had suffered massive bleeding in her brain from an aneurysm. A short while later, two more surgeons appeared and explained the massive bleed in Lisa’s brain gave her little chance to survive and if she did it would be in a persistent vegetative state. Lisa had made me promise to her over and over in our 18 years together to never allow this to happen to her. I let the surgeons know Lisa wishes, which were also spelled out in her Living Wills and Advance Directive. I was then promised by the doctors that I would be brought to see Lisa as “soon as she was cleaned up”. At that point all life saving measures ceased and I asked that she be prepared for organ donation.

Yet, the children and I continued to wait and wait. A Hospital Chaplain appeared and asked if I wanted to pray and I looked at her dumbfounded as if I hadn’t already been doing that for over four hours. I immediately asked for a Catholic Priest to perform Lisa’s Last rites. A short time later, A Catholic priest escorted me back to recite the Last Rites and it was my first time in nearly 5hrs of seeing Lisa. After seeing her I knew the children needed to see her immediately and be able to say their goodbyes and begin the grieving process. Yet the priest escorted me back out to the waiting room. Where I was faced with the young faces of our beautiful children to explain “other mommy” was going to heaven.

I continued to assert my self over the ensuing hours again that we needed to be with Lisa. I even showed the Admitting clerk the children’s birth certificates with both Lisa and my name on them… and said if you won’t let me back, let her children be with her. I was told they were “too young”. I thought how old do you need to be to say goodbye to your mother?

In nearly eight hours, Lisa lay at Ryder Trauma Center moving toward brain death – completely alone and I continue to this day to feel like a failure for not being there to hold her hand to tell her how much we loved her, to comfort her and to sign in her hand “I love you”. All my pleas fell on deaf ears.

Lisa’s sister arrived driving straight from Jacksonville as soon as I knew Lisa would not survive. She announced who she was and I was at her side staring at the same person who had been denying me access all those hours. It was only then that I was told Lisa had been moved almost an hour earlier to ICU… and the hospital just kept the children and I waiting in the same waiting room, where Lisa was not even at.

A woman can share children with another woman, she can have Durable Power of Attorney and be named in a Living Will as legal guardian--and still she has no rights and no recourse. Because she's a lesbian.

I am trembling with rage.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, so I won't belabour the point. We need equal rights. We need same-sex marriage at the federal level.

Here in Washington, voting has already begun on Referendum 71, which asks voters to reconfirm expanded domestic partnership rights which were signed into law in May, 2009. I've discussed this before, but I'm going to say it again: if you live in Washington State, are eligible to vote, and do not do so for any reason (barring ICU or earthquakes of apocalyptic proportions), you are not welcome in my real or virtual homes. I will block your email. I will unfollow you on Twitter. I will refuse you entry to our big parties. I will point you out at readings. I will turn my back on you in public. This is my line in the sand. I'm done with being wise and kind and understanding. Now is my time to be vengeful. You do not want to piss me off on this one.

So here's my challenge to all of you, wherever you live: talk about this. Blog about it. Donate money.

If you live in Washington State, talk to your neighbours, your co-workers, the woman in the checkout line. Ask them if they know any gay or lesbian people. Tell them that, in your opinion, voting yes, voting to approve referendum 71 is the right thing to do. Tell them Lisa Pond's story. Feel free, also, to tell them that if us queers do not get our rights we will rise up: the big bad butches will rip the tires off your car. The gay salon owners will burn your hair off. And all the queer cops and dental hygenists and plumbers and customer service people will fuck up your lives to the point of misery.

If you don't live here, think of someone you know who does, and call them. Talk to them. Send them Facebook messages. Write them a letter--but be quick.

This is happening today, this week, this month. Act now.

When you've done something, let me know in the comments. Perhaps it will encourage others to do something, too.

Print

88 comments:

  1. I marched in the streets on the 11th in Volunteer park to downtown. I helped shoot the three 30 second spots for Approve Ref. 71 for the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am not gay. I am a loving human being weeping with total grief and outrage for this beautiful bereaved family. I don't live in Washington State but I will be emailing this to all the rest of my family who DO live there, and joining you in turning my back on those who continue to do nothing to get you the rights that ARE your rights! Pay attention people - it is not ONLY the gay and lesbian people who have had enough of your shitty attitudes and actions. Those of us who love and support them may also be willing to "fuck up your lives to the point of misery."

    ReplyDelete
  3. I, too, am trembling with rage.

    You were all treated abominably. This wasn't just an anti-gay move, it was completely inhumane.

    I send my condolences to you for your loss: and I send you my admiration, too, for writing about this terrible time with such clarity and passion.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've already voted to APPPROVE Ref. 71, and the ballot will be mailed this week.

    May I repost links to this (in my LJ and Facebook)?

    ReplyDelete
  5. jane, thank you.

    luke, thank you. Yes, please do repost links. I want people to know about this. I don't want anyone to be able to say, 'Oh, was it important?'

    ReplyDelete
  6. Will link to this in my LJ. As a bisexual poly women in relationships with both a man and a women and not planning to be married again I'm well aware of how little rights I have with either should something happen...

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'll repost this on my LJ as soon as I can, Nicola. This makes me furious, too.

    - JoSelle Vanderhooft (upstart_crow on LJ)

    ReplyDelete
  8. How sad for the Langbehn-Pond family, the injustices don't stop. I made my donation to Referendum 71, I wish I could vote as well. If anyone knows of a legal fund for the Langbehn-Pond family I would be interested in making a donation on their behalf as well. I hope there is an appeal or someway for the family to pursue the matter.

    ReplyDelete
  9. javagoth, joselle, thank you.

    rory, you could always contribute to Lambda Legal. If anyone appeals, it will be them.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'll also donate what I can to the WA campaign and try to get the word out in the UT GLBT community to support its passage.

    - JoSelle

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm sitting here crying. I live in Chicago and am a heterosexual married woman with 4 children. And the thought that my husband or I would have to die alone, without the rest of our family by our side when "the authorities" were the ones keeping them away? It breaks my heart. Yet why should I "deserve" what a loving, homosexual couple doesn't? It shouldn't happen to me; it shouldn't happen to anyone. Gay, straight, bi... it's irrelevant. This was/is a family. Period. Thank you for sharing this. I made a donation to the referendum moments ago and will be sharing this story with others.

    ReplyDelete
  12. bobbie, I'm sorry for the upset--but if you share the story, it might influence the vote, and then, wow, you will have helped change the world for so many of us.

    antiqueight, yes. And it's easy to feel paralysed by it. But it's also reasonably easy to do something, even if it's just Tweeting or donating $5. Or, y'know, both :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Nicola, Please don't be sorry for the upset. I *should* be upset. Everyone should. There's nothing wrong with the occasional reality check, as long as it impels us toward necessary action.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have done phone banking for Ref 71, given them money, blogged about it, posted numerous things on FB and LJ about it, just voted to approve it, and sent out numerous emails to my friends about it. On Friday I chatted up a young man on the bus I am acquainted with. I am freaked out that this will fail, but at least I can say I did something to get it passed. You can bet the queers are going to rise up.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I can't find any recent (this month) polls, but as with all things, it hinges on voter turn out. With postal ballots there is no excuse, not one, for people who don't vote. I will be talking to everyone I encounter this week: vote, I'll say, vote for us. Vote because you're a human being. Vote or we will make you pay...

    ReplyDelete
  16. How tragic. I no longer know anyone (but you) in Washington State. They've all moved away.

    But I can repost this.

    And pray.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I am not a lesbian, yet speechless with rage. What sort of world are we living in? Love is love, no matter whether it be between same sex or heterosexuals.

    I am appalled and embarrassed to be part of the human race at times.

    My heart goes out to you and your partner, whom you sadly did not get to say goodbye too, simply because of bureaucracy administered by morons.

    I will donate and pass this post onto others.

    ReplyDelete
  18. It sickens me that this was done to a family. I don't live in Washington, but I did retweet the link on Twitter where I found the it. I also posted it on Facebook. People need to be aware of the reality. It horrifies me to think how little compassion our society shows as a whole.

    ReplyDelete
  19. My heart breaks reading this post. I sit here dumbfounded that anyone would keep a person away from their loved ones as they were dying. It doesn't matter what your sexual orientation is- it's basic human compassion! I don't know how those people can live with themselves.

    I am a married hetrosexual woman who has argued for and voted for gay marriage. I will be posting this on my facebook account as well.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Have reposted this on Twitter, LiveJournal and the Swivet. And am still furious.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I've posted this story in my blog tonight with a call to action -- and acknowledgement to you, Nicola for the story -- and I hope it does some good, because out there somewhere, this could be happening again.

    ReplyDelete
  22. ssas, quillfeather, abouttothunder, rissa, clindsay, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I am so sorry for your loss and utterly outraged by the treatment you received. That wasn't an anti-gay state, that was an anti-human state. I have already filled out my ballot voting yes.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Gay marriages are legal and honoured in Canada. Apparently, polygamy is too as the Crown recently dropped charges against a polygamist.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Just horrible. Saw clindsay's post on Twitter and RT'd it. All the best to you and yours, but not to everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  26. It is easy and simple to make calls from home for the Yes n 71 campaign. It doesn't matter if you don't live in Washington. I have never lived in Washington, and I am all signed up. If you have a half hour in the day? On your lunch break, when you get home? You can do this. You will help.

    It's easy to sign up. The script is simple.

    But your contribution will be immense.

    The url is here: http://approvereferendum71.org/phonehome

    It takes them a day or two to get you into the system, so if you can do this, go there and sign up now. There is little time left.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm in Texas, not Washington. But I received this link on Twitter, passed it on by Facebook, hospital phone number and all. I'll call the hospital tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I am not gay myself, but have always felt that those who are deserve the same rights as anyone else. I feel awful for you and your childrens' loss.

    I have posted this story to my Facebook account, and am also posting it to my LJ and twitter.

    I know a few people who live in Washington, and I am confidant that they will also pass along the message.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I worked a double shift with my mentally ill clients today, and came home to find this. I will NEVER be speechless, but I can hardly breathe. I quit being a practicing lawyer because courts do things like this with perfect equanimity. Is the Constitution worth nothing?

    ReplyDelete
  30. I don't live in Washington state, but have freinds and acquaintances who do. The word will be passed on.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Nicola, this is a heart-wrenching story. I've linked to it from my Facebook, my blog and my LiveJournal as well.

    And, since I live in Seattle, I'm going to stop procrastinating and fill out my ballot. I'll make my voice heard along with all the rest.

    ReplyDelete
  32. As a widow who has been at her dying husband's side, I cannot imagine anyone being that heartless. Ever since prop 8 made the ballot in California, I've been following the NCLR blog, so I have been following this case.

    I'm not in Washington; if I were, I'd vote to uphold domestic partnerships. My monetary donations are going to California and national-level efforts, though.

    ReplyDelete
  33. This is truly shocking.

    I'm UK based with no contacts in Washington, but it is now doing the rounds on Twitter.

    Twitter achieved 3 remarkable things in the UK last week, let's hope we can raise the profile of this too.

    MB

    ReplyDelete
  34. Posted to FB & filled out my ballot, which I hadn't planned on doing.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Will absolutely share as far as i can - not in Washington but I do know people who are, wishing Lisa's surviving partner and children a brighter future xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  36. I posted a piece about this at Dangerous Intersection where it will get much wider viewing than from my own blog.

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
  37. This story has touched my heart. As a Christian, and a southerner, I know first hand the negative, hateful attitudes of people who claim to follow the teachings of Jesus. I do not hold these same attitudes. I do not know anyone who lives in Washington, but I will share this story on my facebook and twitter pages, so that those I know will be forced to rethink their standing on this issue (if against) or to solidify their conviction to do something about these types of injustices. As a nurse I am horrified that this family was treated this way. Thank you for bringing this heartbreaking story to us. It is a way for this family's nightmare to accomplish something great. Blessings!
    Merritt
    South Carolina

    ReplyDelete
  38. Your story is heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing. I just made a small donation. I wish I could do more.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I'm inarticulate with rage and sympathy for this family, but I'll repost on FB and Twitter.

    Whatever is achieved, it'll never make things right for this family. Heartbreaking.

    ReplyDelete
  40. As a straight, Episcopalian woman who has lost her mother... I'm so outraged! I can't even imagine not being able to say goodbye. Those poor children, and not being able to hold my husband's hand... it makes me so upset. I can't believe we live in a country that allows this nonsense to happen. I'll be reposting... and donating, and contacting everyone I know in Washington.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I shared this with a friend in WA state and asked for her vote on Referendum 71. I am appalled that this attitude exists, and is prevailed upon, in 2009. My heart goes out to Janice and their children in this time of grief. Grief is hard enough to deal with on its own without adding denial of rights to the mix. Top that with a dismissed (WTF?!?!) lawsuit, and I can't even begin to imagine the pain this woman and her children must be bearing.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Thank you, Nicola. I've blogged about this, too: http://mckitterick.livejournal.com/596063.html

    ReplyDelete
  43. Anything we can do is worth doing. Empathy is all well and good, it's what makes us human, but we also have to *act*: make the phone call, make a donation, make time to talk to someone about the issue. Make it happen.

    Thank you all.

    ReplyDelete
  44. When my mail ballot arrives, I will absolutely vote to approve this! I've always felt that it is a basic human rights violation not to let people sharing their lives have the rights of other couples simply because they are different.

    As a follower of Christ, I know Jesus wants us to love our neighbors, and that means everyone. We're enraged with you, and working for change :). God bless!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I posted this on facebook, with ellen datlow's comments about it, so that my 1400 friends there can see it. I will also email it to others, including students in my law school class. intolerable. civil rights for all or civil war!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Tweeting about this now: @twoheadknight

    ReplyDelete
  47. I know what it's like to not make it to the hospital on time to say goodbye to a loved one. For a medical institution to deny a patient the loving touch of loved ones is inexcusable. Love is love. It's outrageous that our society has allowed unknown voices to speak for patients. Shame on the hospital and shame on the judge for not finding fault. I'm sorry for your loss.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Thank you for that post. It reminds me that I should never let my guard down when travelling.

    I'm Canadian, lawfully married to my partner, and together we're the parents of a 5 week old boy. I appear as "father/other parent" on his birth registration because it is permissible for a same-sex partner to appear on the birth registration (in certain circumstances). I live in Toronto which has a prominent LGBT community. In the notoriously catholic hospital where our son was born, I was easily able to advocate for my partner, didn't have to ask to cut the cord etc.

    And because things are fairly good for queers here in Toronto, it's easy to forget that the casual freedom we have here is not available everywhere.

    I'm generally cautious, and some friends and family are perplexed at this caution until I tell them stories like the one in your post. Sure, they understand why I wouldn't travel to certain middle eastern countries with my partner and our son, but they don't always get it when it comes to the US.

    The assumption is that the US -- this massive ultra-capitalistic population of "of the people, by the people, for the people", "give me freedom or give me death" is all about freedom and human rights.

    The assumption is that this nation to our south that speaks the same language (more or less), eats the same foods (sort of), watches the same tv shows, listens to the same music (kind of) ... would have more differences than similarities to the middle east when it comes to LGBT rights and human rights.

    But it seems the US, for all its excesses, can be remarkably similar to any other fundamentalist nation.

    I know that there are a lot of citizens in the US who don't have an issue with homosexuality and, academically anyway, are supportive of gay rights. I also suspect that many of these same citizens don't feel that it's an issue that has anything to do with them or requires them to stand up and vote. But now that you're sending the butches after their tires, and the queer dental hygeinists and plumbers after them, I hope their eyes will be opened.

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Thanks, everyone. Keep the Tweets and blogs and FB posts coming, keep talking to your neighbours, your friends, your family, and vote.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Hi
    Here via Juniperus' Livejournal. I'm a married, het, woman with two children. Your tale made me cry with grief and rage. What the HELL difference does it make if people are straight or gay? What the FUCK to these 'carers' think they are doing, being so utterly inhumane? Married is married. Family is family.
    I wish I had a vote that could help you, but I'm a European. However, I will post a link to this entry on my lj.

    Dickgloucester.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I tweeted this out into the universe: "I'd vote YES on Prop 71 in Washington, NO on question #1 in Maine, respect your rights + expect you to do the same for everyone else."

    I understand all the anger, I have no idea what I would do in that situation but I vote no on threats and threats of violence. Vote our way or we'll make your lives miserable? What if someone said that to you? It should never be about who is the more pissed off or who has the bigger muscles. Right not might should carry the vote.

    ReplyDelete
  52. lonelypond, we can agree to differ.

    ReplyDelete
  53. posted this on chicago indymedia

    ReplyDelete
  54. Yes, I think we can...that's one of the points, pleasures and/or frustrations of conversation.

    ReplyDelete
  55. This is deeply messed up & I've been spreading word around; also seeing word spread around. Why is equality so important? Because of reasons. Reasons like this.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I'm absolutely enraged and saddened by this. I can't believe that a supposedly civilised society thinks that this is reasonable. My heart goes out to you and your family.

    I'm English, living in Australia, so I can't vote, but I will follow Dickgloucester and Juniperus and post a link on my LJ.

    Lurkerfromoz

    ReplyDelete
  57. What angers me the most about this is, despite having all the appropriate documentation, someone was still barred from seeing the person they are supposed to be making medical decisions for. Under the law itself, that hospital should have let that person in as soon as it was established they were the medical advocate for the dying. How else will they be able to communicate the wishes of the incapacitated?

    I also support R-71, (I would really just prefer to have every state have the legal ceremony and benefits available to whomever consents to it), and am legally registered to vote in the state in question, so that ballot will be cast.

    ReplyDelete
  58. What a devastating tale. I don't live in WA but have passed along the story and link on my blog and my twitter page. This is so important. We just have to make this country human again. I'm so very sorry for your loss.

    ReplyDelete
  59. This is disgusting that ANYONE would treat a fellow human being like this. I will be posting this on my livejournal. I'm a pansexual woman with a male partner, but the thought that I could be treated like that if my partner were a woman infuriates me. A person is a person, regardless of race, religion or sexuality.

    I am so sorry you had to go through this, and my heart goes out to you and your children. I hope the world is more understanding and accepting by the time they get old enough to make their own choices.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I live in Australia so can't help with the voting Yes. But I have made a donation and linked this on my LJ, FB and twitter.
    I have urged all my family and friends to spread this injustice of Janice, Lisa and their beautiful children to everyone they know anywhere in the World. I have also e-mailed this heartbreaking story to our National and local news and newspapers. This must never be allowed to happen again. For all the Janice's and Lisa's, we must make a stand...doesn't matter what your views or sexual inclinations. Be human for one minute!

    Sharone x

    ReplyDelete
  61. I always say to someone expressing anti-gay feelings or spouting anti-gay rhetoric that if he were to substitute the words "black" or "Jew" for "gay" or "lesbian," that person could face arrest and a court appearance for spouting racist abuse.

    There is no difference between racism and homophobia: it's still bigotry. The phrase "We discriminate against you because you are [fill in the blank]" is bigotry, pure and simple, and the law should be made to reflect this.

    I'm from the UK, and there's been a stink about a journalist's homophobic rant published in our Daily Mail newspaper over the weekend. Words of hate may be banned from the lips of bigots, but we're all going to have to continue to fight to banish them from their withered hearts, too.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Nicola, and other readers, I am a straight married female, and I too wept for the plight of a woman and her children separated from their wife and mother. I see gay rights as simply human rights, no more and no less, and have always spoken out on issues of LGBT importance.

    This is particularly important! Aside from the reprehensible human conduct involved, I imagine the hospital was on very shaky ground legally despite the judge's unbelievable decision on the subject. (I'm no lawyer but others who read this will be I'm sure.) On top of all of this, Jackson is run by a group called the Public Health Trust (in other words, the county of Miami-Dade), making its conduct, if possible, even more reprehensible given that it didn't even have the excuse of private morays to cover for its monstrous actions.

    That being said, when in doubt, make some noise! I recommend we politely do the following:

    Write firm, indignant letters protesting this injustice and copy them to each and every one of the non-administrative PR staff members on the list contained under this link:
    http://www.jhsmiami.org/body.cfm?id=9401

    Write a similar firm, indignant letter (though more pointed regarding their responsibility for this mess) to each of the following Jackson Health System executives:

    Eneida O. Roldan, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.
    President and Chief Executive Officer, Jackson Health System
    eneida.roldan@jhsmiami.org

    Frank J. Barrett
    Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
    FBarrett@jhsmiami.org

    Gerard A. Kaiser, M.D.
    Executive Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, and Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs
    GKaiser@med.miami.edu

    Particularly if you're local, and especially if you have similar stories of medical discrimination to share (leads to more coverage!) write a note to Miami Herald reporter John Dorschner, who's been covering the health scene in Miami for 20-plus years. He's at jdorschner@miamiherald.com.

    I have many more suggestions to share, since to my amazement, many of the players haven't changed since I was a cub reporter in the 1990s.

    By the way, I will start tweeting on this at @annezieger as possible. Anyone got a hashtag already in use on this subject?

    Also, please feel free to copy and paste any and all advice on the Miami media/CEO scene to other venues such as Facebook. Anything I can do to help is my pleasure.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Anne, thank you so much for doing all that work. Nope, so Twitter hashtag. How about #outrage.

    ReplyDelete
  64. I was born in the 50s and raised mainly in the deep south. Mother and "Aunt Pat" were upper class and very much in the closet. About 15 years ago my mother passed, alone in the hospital, as I was out west, and Pat was turned away.

    Soon my kids could be having kids. Family and those close to me know my story, but I think I'm ready to be more "out" about my parents.

    Individual's stories humanize minorites. They are powerful motivators. Thank you for your story Nicola; now perhaps I can find the words to tell mine.

    ReplyDelete
  65. I just saw your post. I've added a blog and am now heading to twitter.

    ReplyDelete
  66. My god, I am so sorry. Sounds as though your entire family was and is beautiful and strong. I am so sorry that this injustice was perpetrated against you. All of the love in this world

    ReplyDelete
  67. From this article you can see that what they (the hospital and the District Judge) did was textbook illegal. It really has nothing to do with legalizing gay marriages, in deference to the author, since other legal documents were in effect and were shown to the proper authorities.

    IMO, that clerk needs to be removed from duty, then jailed for felony discriminatory behavior.

    Could this have been solved differently if their union was recognized? Maybe, but this is not the case. The LAW is supposed to work, and everything Janice was trying to do was legal. Everything the hospital did was illegal, or at least unethical at best. either way, it was wrong!

    Lisa had a Power of Attorney naming Janice. Janice was the authority for the Living Will, and was supposed to be present (with Lisa) for medical issues and decisions. Lisa (MSRIP) was done a terrible injustice for which the hospital should have to pay.

    Unfortunately, if Janice thinks gay rights will rid her, or others, from discrimination she should accompany a black woman to a rural town in the southern states to see where discrimination has evolved today.

    When will humans learn that you cannot force others to change their ideals through legal means? You must make the change their idea (or give them cause to make it their own), which then they WANT to change, and therefore the change becomes universal.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Nicola...

    Forgive my brutish attempt to find words for this outrage but...

    THIS IS FUCKING BULLLSHIT!!!

    I will Tweet about this.

    I will post on Facebook.

    I will take any of these "Gay-marriage-undermines-traditional-heterosexual-marriage" fucks and hold their feet to the fire (symbollicly, of course, though the idea of going Spanish Inquisition on them does give me a tingly feeling). This story has broken this camel's back. I was on board with gay marriage, but now I'm a total bastard for it. You can draw my line in the sand alongside yours. They brought a knife to a gunfight as far as I'm concerned.

    ReplyDelete
  69. This is outrageous! How can they possibly justify what they have done?
    I am appalled, and though I am straight and although I live in Canada, this is going on ALL my social networking sites.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Passing the word along in Ottawa, Canada.

    ReplyDelete
  71. I am reposting on FB, after hearing about it on FB from a friend in California. I still need to fill out my ballot, but no fear, I will, and send it in on time.

    ReplyDelete
  72. I can't believe this. I can't believe how cruel people can be, especially to children. I have passed the word on all the social networking sites I use. I am so heartbroken for the family.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Washington resident here. Ive linked you on my LJ and the refferendum has my full support and vote. (not to mention my full super ability to nag, rag, bitch, drag, and harrass all voting members of my family to follow thru with their promise to support as well).

    ReplyDelete
  74. Thanks. It's all about the talking and the voting.

    ReplyDelete
  75. A few more ideas:

    * For those in het marriages, sign your letters as a couple. Let them know that we stand together on this issue.

    * Boycott the city of Miami.

    * Write to the organizations you belong to, and ask them to boycott Miami.

    * Write to the Miami Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau to let them know they have lost your dollars and that you're telling all of your friends and organizations to boycott the city.

    Chamber of Commerce:
    http://greatermiami.com/about_us/about_the_chamber/staff.asp

    Convention and Visitors Bureau:
    http://www.miamiandbeaches.com/about/contactus.asp

    Thanks, Anne, for providing the hospital contacts.

    I've shared all of these ideas with my friends. And I'm donating to both Lambda Legal and Ref 71.

    Good luck in Washington!

    ReplyDelete
  76. Nicola, I'm grateful you have brought this to my attention. I am sending the information on to everyone I know in the state of Washington. This is the most horrendous behavior. My partner died in 1969 and we were treated with more compassion and dignity in the hospital where it occurred. That was 40 years ago! I'm an old lady now, but my feelings and words echo those of Erik. Corky

    ReplyDelete
  77. Totally unacceptable. I filled out my ballot last night. This must never happen again!! That it happened even once is a travesty and a tragedy.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Not being from the US, all I can do is give my sympathies.

    I'm male, I'm straight and I'm married, and I believe the only thing that should be required for a marriage is love. It's not what's in your pants that matters, it's what's in your heart and no two people in love should be denied a marriage.

    A same-sex marriage doesn't offend me, in fact it makes me happy to see two people have found love. I believe it speaks worlds of a person (and their marriage, if they have one) if they find two people in love offensive.

    There are so many loveless heterosexual marriages, that the only term I can think of to describe an objection against another couples love is jealousy.

    If love was an actual requirement for a loving-commitment, millions of marriages wouldn't be valid. However, I don't think there's a single same-sex couple out there that want to be married who could be denied for a lack of love.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Ref 71 is one of the few REALLY IMPORTANT reasons I made sure I didn't slack off and not mail in my ballot. It's not an "Oh, whatever!" issue and I hope it passes resoundly.

    ReplyDelete
  80. I found this blog post due to cross posting on Facebook, and I have cross posted it as well. I am not gay, I am a human being. You are gay, and you are a human being. We all love, hope, fear, and come from a mother somewhere. It makes no sense to treat anyone as less than the human being they are. I also just posted this to my Facebook, and thought I would share it here as well: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/21/philip-spooner-video-wwii_n_329446.html

    ReplyDelete
  81. I briefly told this story to students at my law school class this Saturday, and am forwarding to them a link to your blog entry.
    --Bernie Farber
    Adjunct Professor Chicago-Kent College of Law.

    ReplyDelete
  82. see stuff like this gets me in anger mood. WTH? see this is what we should be doing calling our rep and calling people out on their shit.

    I remeber whe I went to the equality march, almost no cuter protesters. Why? cause they can't face people and say their shit..piss me off...

    ReplyDelete
  83. Work at home jobs can be hard to trust. That's why we research and publish only the best of the best... carefully pre-screened, 100% scam-free work at home jobs you can depend on. No get rich quick schemes. No scams. Just 100% real work at home jobs
    www.onlineuniversalwork.com

    ReplyDelete