Friday, December 11, 2009

warning for those who travel in the US

This is a warning for those who travel in the US.

A same-sex couple, in a state where they were visitors, were treated like foreigners.
Unable to visit her same-sex partner, despite paperwork, Janice Langbehn was unable to be with her partner, with their legally adopted children nearby.
In 2007, a massive cerebral aneurysm claimed her spouse while on holiday, yet she waited 2 hours for information in the hospital, and was shunned by staff.

She states in her speech:
"I so believe that any family – however they define themselves has the HUMAN right to be together at time of death.  Yet in our situation not only were we not validated but also we were shunned.  All because as Mr. Frederick made it very clear I was in an anti gay city/state."

It is typical of those with racial, sexual, or ethnic bias.
Janice took the hospital to court.
Judge Jordan’s opinion when he wrote in his opinion:
“If the plaintiffs’ allegations are true, which I assume that they are when deciding the defendants’ 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the defendants’ lack of sensitivity and attention to Ms.Langbehn, Ms. Pond, and their children caused them needless distress during a time of vulnerability. The defendants’ failure to provide Ms. Langbehn and her children frequent updates on Ms. Pond’s status, to allow Ms. Langbehn and her children to visit Ms. Pond after emergency medical care ceased; to inform Ms. Langbehn that Ms. Pond had been transferred to the intensive care unit, and to provide Ms. Langbehn Ms. Pond’s medical records as she requested, exhibited a lack of compassion and was unbecoming of a renowned trauma center like Ryder. Unfortunately, no relief is available for these failures based on the allegations plead in the amended complaint.”
The health care issues in Canada are bad enough. They fear reporting health issues to daughters, and cite FIPPA for not doing so. Yet, often we are the ones with the knowledge of adult parents.

If a person is in Intensive Care, they will often only allow 'family membes' in. Same issue is the result.
We have many Canadian snowbirds whose culture, values and practices are not respected when they travel south. This woman had all of her paperwork: adoption papers, birth certificates, power of attorney, power of care. Ensure that you take such photocopies with you when travelling.

As she concludes: "The justice we sought through our country’s legal sytstem also family failed us, so the laws in the state and the nation must change."
My heart goes out to her and her three children for such suffering.


Anne said...

Thank you for bring attention awareness to this story. Our family moved to Canada from the US and one of the primary reasons was to be recognized as a family. In the US we had no rights as a same-sex couple with two adopted children. We are still vurnable when we travel back to the United States.

Jenn Jilks said...

It is truly shameful, Anne. I am glad you found Canada to be a better place. I taught in a school system with a beautiful rainbow of ethnicities, cultures, and families of all sorts, including foster families, and I was vigilant in standing up for the rights of others. I worked very hard to help the children find their voice. For we must speak up and speak out. Take care.