Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri, via their parent company, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) has released another statement describing their version of events that included their security guards handcuffing and arresting a gay man who was visiting his partner, and to some it’s an indictment of the hospital’s failure to follow federal regulations — and display common decency.
It cannot be stated enough that this case demonstrates the imperative that DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, must be repealed and all same-sex couples who wish to be legally married are allowed to do so.
Hospitals time and time again refuse to follow federal guidelines or observe legal contracts, often feigning ignorance to cover up their bigotry — or, indeed, actual ignorance.
Roger Gorley reportedly was handcuffed and arrested while visiting his partner, Allen Mansell, at the Research Medical Center (RMC). Mansell has medical power of attorney for his partner, and yet the hospital did not honor it. Gorley says the hospital even refused to look at it when they asked him to leave his partner’s bedside, because Mansell’s brother didn’t want him there.
RMC’s statement provides evidence that the hospital’s employees did not follow proper federal procedure and policies in a flagrant and offensive disregard for the rights of their patient and their patient’s same-sex partner.
John Aravosis, who is the editor of AmericaBlog, and has a law degree from Georgetown University and years of experience in legal matters and LGBT civil rights, published an examination of event after personally contacting the federal offices of Medicare and Medicaid in Washington, D.C., and interviewing Amanda Brown, the 26-year old daughter of Roger Gorley.
Aravosis writes “the hospital claims that Gorley was asked to leave because he wouldn’t quiet down. But at the same time, the hospital claims that Gorley was asked to show his medical power of attorney for his partner Allen, and couldn’t provide it. Leading to the proverbial: ruh roh.”
“By admitting that they asked Roger Gorley to prove that he had medical power of attorney for his spouse, Allen, the hospital admits that things would have turned out differently had Gorley had the proof on his person,” Aravosis explains:
Thus, the hospital admits that this was not, as it keeps claimingly, solely a case of a man being “disruptive.” It was a case of a gay man being unable to prove, to the hospital’s satisfaction, that he was the spouse of another gay man lying in the emergency room. Thus the hospital’s due diligence, or lack thereof (I’d argue), in finding out whether Gorley was the spouse is relevant – nay, key – to this entire story. And as I’ll show below, the hospital’s due diligence in following federal regulations governing same-sex hospital visitation appears to have been lacking, to say the least.
And Aravosis adds:
Under the federal regulations governing same-sex hospital visitation, the hospital does not appear to have followed the regulations – by its own admission – making it subject to possible forfeiture of its Medicare and Medicaid contracts with the federal government. Here’s why:
A) I interviewed the Medicare and Medicaid office in Washington yesterday, and got the complete details of the hospital visitation regulations. Roger didn’t need to provide any proof of his medical power of attorney, or anything else for that matter, if, as his daughter claims, patient Allen said, during the altercation, “I want him here.”
Under federal regulations, that is all that is needed, the argument ends. So why did the hospital ask gay Roger to prove his power of attorney?
B) Let’s assume, devil’s advocate, that the daughter is wrong, and patient Allen did not ask for Roger to stay (perhaps he was unconscious).
Federal regs say that the partner can simply say “I’m in charge,” and that’s enough UNLESS someone else asserts that they too are in charge of the patient, which appears to have happened here when Allen’s straight brother also stepped in and asserted his authority Here’s what the regs say happens next, and I quote the federal guideline accompanying the regs:
“In such cases [when more than one individual claims to be the patient’s representative], it would be appropriate for the hospital to ask each individual for documentation supporting his/her claim to be the patient’s representative. The hospital should make its determination of who is the patient’s representative based upon the hospital’s determination of who the patient would most want to make decisions on his/her behalf. Examples of documentation a hospital might consider could include, but are not limited to, the following: proof of a legally recognized marriage, domestic partnership, or civil union; proof of a joint household; proof of shared or co-mingled finances; and any other documentation the hospital considers evidence of a special relationship that indicates familiarity with the patient’s preferences concerning medical treatment.”
Aravosis offers an exceptionally thorough examination that would lead practically anyone to agree the hospital violated the couple’s rights.
In a separate and also extensive piece, Aravosis’ exclusive interview of Gorley’s daughter, there’s this frightening indictment:
Daughter says security assumed dad had AIDS because he was gay
Amanda’s account of hospital security’s treatment of her father, which she posted to her blog, is chilling – it’s still unclear if this was the KCPD or the hospital’s own private police:
When the Kansas City Missouri Police Department arrived they asked my father to leave the room. He said to them, “No. This is my husband and I am going to stay with him.”
The police considered that a violation of a direct order, so they began to forcibly remove him from the room. My father held onto the rail of the gurney as well as his husbands hand with everything he had. The police responded with brut and excessive force. The office began karate chopping his wrist to get him to release the gurney. Then they wrestled him to the ground forcefully enough to knock his glasses off of his face, his hearing aids out of his ears, and nearly break his wrist while they took him down. To handcuff him, they pushed a knee into his back and wrenched his wrists around.
It didn’t end there. The police changed his handcuffs 4 times! They assumed because he was a gay man that he was HIV+. When they drew blood from accosting him in such a brutal manner they freaked out. One of the arresting officers was so offended by my father’s presence that he would not touch him with his bare hands. He wore gloves the entire time and to make matters even more humiliating he didn’t want his handcuffs back. He grabbed them with gloves on, then another layer of gloves pinched between his index finger and thumb as he handed them off to another officer. The officer taking the handcuffs looked at him like he was crazy and just grabbed the handcuffs with no issue.
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