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Hospital That Handcuffed Gay Man Visiting Husband Issues Statement Accidentally Showing Wrongdoing

by David Badash on April 12, 2013

in Bigotry Watch,Discrimination,Marriage,News,Politics

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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.

READ: HCA Employee Uses Shocking Anti-Gay Slur To Defend Missouri Hospital That Handcuffed Gay Man

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DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, must be repealed and all same-sex couples who wish to be legally married are allowed to do so.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.

LOOK: 6 Petitions That Send A Strong Message To Missouri Hospital: Do Not Discriminate Against Gay Couples

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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twiga_riq April 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm

It should be noted that the use of sterile gloves in this setting is the recommended procedure. However, Roger's daughter seems to document that it went far beyond SOP with very strong evidence of a police officer or security guard who is homophobic. Will SCOTUS be able to take this event into advisement while they consider Prop 8 and DOMA? Let's all hope so.

rnicSTL April 13, 2013 at 6:31 pm

I agree with the gloves being SOP (as it should be). However, I thought the comment that the police officer wouldn't take his cuffs back was odd though.

johnmburt April 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm

The story just keeps getting worse.

Let us hope it gets better now that grown-ups are taking a hand.

columbinnati April 12, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Wow. What is going on in Kansas City? This whole mess started because of the patient's dickhead brother. It's unfortunate that the KC police and hospital staff didn't have cooler heads.

BJLincoln April 12, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Why haven't we heard from the str8 brother who started this mess?
I hope this couple can retire on what the hospital and police have to pay.

keithff April 12, 2013 at 6:41 pm

I have been following this case and BJLincoln, the straight brother brother has now tried claiming mental incompetance and abuse regarding, the document that his brother signed. He knows he is in the wrong and is now trying to cover his ass. but the real problem is that that patient insisted that he wanted his spouse to stay and the brother to leave, still the hospital had the police force the spouse ou under arrest. My feeling is this hospital must have lots of money they dont want, because they are going to be paying out a lot in damages. The police too must have lots of money they dont want because they did a wrongful removal. I hopoe he takes them for all they have. The brother has now lost his family because they all consider him a homophoic dick

Rudyspr05 April 13, 2013 at 4:49 am

So the daughter's word is taken as gold? Couldn't be biased at all. The same one that started a fundraiser page to help with legal expenses with a goal of $5000. For some reasons they also felt it was necessary to add that they lost $3000 in non refundable tickets for their Amsterdram trip they were leaving on but missed due to the spouses medical turmoil. Hmmm…

The DPOAs fb indicated that the patient was having "serious side effects," of "sluggishness," and "slurred speech," from the missed ECT treatments and medication side effects for his "severe depression." The daughter herself stated that the patient was "isolating himself alone in his room for 10-12 hours,". So how do you treat the "serious side effects," and his "severe depression," you ask?….. ROAD TRIP!!

Fortunately the family (estranged or not) intervened with their obvious concern. The patient was taken to the hospital by EMS and the police against his will due to a threat of suicide. This would indicate a notarized statement was made that a patient was a danger to himself or others. The DPOA indicates that the pt "stated four times he wasn't suicidal,". Surely the "sluggish," "slurred speech," man that is having, "serious side effects," from his medications, has "missed several ECT treatments" (for his depression) and "isolates," himself for 10-12 hours a day wouldn't be suicidal. Surely not. He said he wasn't. Or is he that committed to following through with it that he won't admit he actually is…hmmm

Once in the hospital the DPOA and family begin arguing. Staff asks them not to yell. They continue to do so. The DPOA indicates that he is the DPOA! (Apparently yelling is allowed then) but wait…. The patient isn't incapacitated. In fact the daughter had just taken him for a haircut, grocery shopping and lunch earlier in the day! So if he isn't incapacitated, a DPOAs decision making isn't needed. Unless, he is the guardian, but he's not. Either way, fighting in the room continues. ALL family were asked to leave. After all this is an ER and there are critically ill people here. All were asked to leave but only one became aggressive. Walking into the hallway yelling at the nurse and pointing in her face. In an environment where the staff is there to care for your loved ones our nurse is now taking time away from chest pains, children in respiratory distress and traumas to be screamed at that this man is the DPOA!! Whew… Good thing that excuses it all. Good thing tht DPOA paperwork was created for you to not only be the voice of a INCAPCITATED loved one but also to scare sick children, family and other patients with your behavior.

Yes all were asked to step out but now one person took it to a new level. Security was called and eventually the police were called. At some points while the DPOA was resisting by grabbing the bed rails and acting like a maniac he was taken to the ground and there was some blood. Blood. But not just any blood, according to the daughters account it was assumed it was HIV + blood because the officers put gloves on! Because clearly if he was heterosexual and there was blood they wouldn't have put gloves on. Yep. That's the policy. Gloves and PPEs not needed with blood or bodily fluids unless you feel they are homosexual. Yeah, because that makes total sense.

It boils down to this. The DPOA was wrong. He acted poorly. His daughter herself said he let the "fire inside," "boil," and it got the best of him. Somehow it turned into a "gay rights" issue. He could have been angry, fair enough, but when you are asked to calm down, do it. After all you are the DPOA. The level headed capacitated person wanting to call all the shots! Step out, take a breather, calm yourself and come back in level headed. Visitors may be a "right," as everyone is saying but if that visitor is making it a dangerous environment for everyone else it is time to step out. The patient may have wanted him there with him, but if the visitor is acting out its not an option.

Had he stepped out and calmed down and then returned none of this would have happened. Think about it. Both were asked to leave. What if the DPOA complied and stepped out and the brother was the only one making a scene. Who would have been escorted out then? It's not a gay rights issue at all but a matter of a tantrum over a time out for bad behavior.

rnicSTL April 13, 2013 at 9:07 am

Rudy, you make a lot of great points. The behavior got out of line, SOP was followed when it came to using gloves for the blood (although it seems to have gone a bit beyond with the officer refusing to take the cuffs back), etc. But one fact remains. If they were married the spouses presence there would never have been questioned. Period. The brother would have had no credibility with the staff and zero say on who stays and goes – the spouse would've been recognized. You can project ulterior motives on the partner and his family all day long, and you may be right. But the patient chose to trust his partner as his DPOA and did all the legal work to ensure his wishes were honored — it was ignored. If marriage equality was the law there would've been no question.

Rudyspr05 April 13, 2013 at 11:26 am

I disagree. He was not incapacitated therefore no one is seeking out a DPOA to make the next decision of what to do. He wasn't on life support and CPR was not in progress. The DPOA and the patient can make decisions together but if he is conscious he doesn't lose his right to make decisions. I did read that he asked the DPOA to stay, which is fine (again he is talking and making decisions of who he wants there, indicating he wasn't incapacitated thus not needing his DPOA to call the shots). Either way the DPOA and brother caused a scene and argued. They were asked to step out, as they should have been. Instead of quietly stepping out and calming down the DPOA became aggressive and made a scene screaming and getting in the nurse's face. As a nurse I can tell you the second you get in my face and scream at me I'm calling security. DPOA paperwork doesn't give anyone the right to become abusive to staff and act irrationally. The focus of who should sit in the room (because again, NOT incapacitated so that's all he would be doing) created a scene. The DPOA acted out. Wife, husband, mother, father, guardian, president or pope… If you act as he did you will be asked to step out.

Even if they did immediately see his DPOA paperwork dipped in platinum with in a flashing neon sign, they would have still acted him to step our due to his actions. Due to an affidavit holding him against his will because of suicidal comments he made a some point to someone at some point to cause him to forcibly be taken to the hospital, he AND THE DPOA didn't have the option of getting to go home at the point. He was wrong, he acted incredibly inappropriatly and instead of owning up that he was wrong for how he acted he through a tantrum and madeit a gay rights issue. So sad

rnicSTL April 13, 2013 at 6:28 pm

They said he was in and out of consciousness. My point is that marriage equality would have negated the need for a POA and they would have never questioned a legal spouse. He may have acted inappropriately when the brother told him that he would be making all the decisions (as per the interview with the brother), but his behavior (inappropriate or not) was a direct response to being challenged and told to leave his partner–that should never have happened. This nurse would've never given the brother precedence over a legal spouse and that's what provoked his behavior, right or wrong.

Rudyspr05 April 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Again it's not the nurse's fault. He was in under a psychiatric hold. There was fighting in the room. The nurse isn't there to be a mediator to that. They were asked to stop yelling. They didn't. Then they were asked to step out. The DPOA escalated and became aggressive with the nurse. Focus turned to him. His tantrum is what got him into trouble. His behavior was unacceptable. Whoever is screaming getting in the nurse's face and being aggressive is out. He handled it all wrong

By the same token if the patient is now "in and out of consciousness," as you pointed out then maybe the DPOA should have stepped in sooner to help the patient instead of planning an overseas vacation with the sluggish, slurred speech, isolated, depressed and semiconscious husband? It seems he may not be the best choice for a DPOA if he felt the cure to all that was a vacation.

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