New Visitation Policy at Accused Florida Hospital

By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com April 14 2010 11:00 AM ET

A South Florida health care system has changed its visitation policy to allow unmarried same-sex partners after a woman accused a Jackson Memorial Hospital worker of refusing to let her visit her dying partner in 2007.

According to Steve Rothaus at The Miami Herald, “Partners of gay and lesbian patients are now assured by Jackson Health System to have the same visiting rights as heterosexuals, according to a new Jackson policy that redefines the terms ‘family’ and ‘family member.’

“Recognized family members now may include people who are not legally related to the patient, including 'spouses, domestic partners and both different-sex and same-sex significant others,' announced SAVE Dade, one of several gay rights groups that worked for a year with Jackson to redefine the policy.

“Gay and lesbian nonbiological parents are also assured of visits when minor children are hospitalized.”

In 2007, Janice Lengbehn said that a Jackson Memorial Hospital social worker refused to allow her to see Lisa Pond, her longtime partner who suffered a fatal brain aneurysm. The employee told Lengbehn that Florida is “an antigay state.”