Lambda Legal, the gay rights organization, has filed a federal lawsuit that could challenge policies at hospitals nationwide.
The suit against Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami was brought on behalf of Janice Langbehn and her three children, who were not permitted to visit their mother - Langbehn's same-sex partner, Lisa Pond - after she collapsed during a Florida vacation. That's in spite of the couple's living trusts, advanced health-care directives and power-of-attorney documents. Pond died eight hours after being admitted to the trauma center with an aneurysm.
"We want to send a message to hospitals," said Lambda Legal lawyer Beth Littrell. "If they don't treat families as such, if they don't let patients define their own circle of intimacy and give them the dignity and care to be with their loved ones in this sort of crisis, then they will be held accountable."