Miami Story Inspires Obama to Change Hospital Policy on Gays - NBC 6 South Florida

Miami Story Inspires Obama to Change Hospital Policy on Gays

Miami case inspires President Obama to enact a new nationwide policy on gays

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    Miami Story Inspires Obama to Change Hospital Policy on Gays
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    Both houses of the legislature would have to pass the bill.

    It's been a pretty productive week for Janice Langbehn.

    First, Jackson Memorial Hospital changed its long-standing policy on allowing gays to visit their dying partners - a change inspired by Langbehn's ordeal in 2007.

    It was capped on Thursday when she got an unexpected phone call from above.

    President Barack Obama, who was in Miami for a Democrat fundraiser, reached out and touched Langbehn from Air Force One on his way back to Washington D.C. to say how outraged he was after hearing what she had to go through with her partner.

    Jackson Memorial officials refused to allow Langbehn to see her longtime partner, Lisa Pond, who was dying in the hospital. The woman died alone with no one at her bedside.

    That struck a chord with the president, who sent out a press release Thursday basically admonishing public hospitals nationwide to change any policies that would deny same-sex partners the right to see their loved ones in the hospital.

    "Of course you can guess that I am blown away that the White House was watching our story and would act on it. This is Lisa's legacy right here -- no one should die alone -- no matter who they love," Langbehn wrote to theMiami Herald.

    Jackson claims it did not deny Langbehn from seeing her partner base don her sexual preference, but contends it may have been busy in the trauma center that night.

    Still, Jackson found it necessary to expand its definition of "family" to include "spouses, domestic partners and both different-sex and same-sex significant others."

    "JHS has vehemently denied that Ms. Langbehn was denied visitation due to her sexual orientation," a released statement from the hospital reads. "JHS grants hospital visitation to all individuals equally, regardless of their relationship to the patient, as long as doing so does not interfere with the care being given to the patient or other patients in the area."