By AATTP contributing author, the Progressive Populist
A gay man who refused to leave his partner’s side in a Kansas City, Missouri hospital was arrested and charged, and was not recognized by the hospital as being part of the patient’s family despite the civil union and power of attorney between the couple.
Roger Gorley was arrested at Research Medical Center, a hospital owned by HCA Holdings, Inc, which is the largest private operator of hospitals and healthcare facilities in the world, and whose biggest shareholder is Bain Capital LLC, the company once led and co-founded by Mitt Romney. Romney said last year that hospital visitation for same sex couples is a “benefit”, not a right.
Gorley was in the hospital visiting his partner of five years, Allen Mansell, and was asked to leave by a member of Mansell’s family. The pair are in a civil union and have legal power of attorney agreements to make medical decisions for one another. Gorley says that the nurse in charge did not look up the documentation proving he had power of attorney.
“I was not recognized as being the husband,” Gorley told Fox 4. “I wasn’t recognized as being the partner.”
When Gorley refused to leave, the hospital called security, who came and forcefully removed him after several verbal attempts to get him to leave. When Gorley was being led from the premises, he got into a scuffle with the security guards, according to the police report. Security then called police and Gorley was arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct.
The hospital claims that Gorley’s arrest had nothing to do with his sexual orientation but was because of his belligerent behavior after he was asked to leave. They also released the following statement:
Research Medical Center was one of the first hospitals in Kansas City to offer domestic partner benefits, which have been in place since 2005, and we have had a policy specifically acknowledging domestic partners’ visitation rights in place for years.
This was an issue of disruptive and belligerent behavior by the visitor that affected patient care. The hospital’s response followed the same policies that would apply to any individual engaged in this behavior in a patient care setting and was not in any way related to the patient’s or the visitor’s sexual orientation or marital status. This visitor created a barrier for us to care for the patient. Attempts were made to deescalate the situation. Unfortunately, we had no choice but to involve security and the Kansas City MO Police Department.
Back in 2010, President Barack Obama ordered all hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid payments to allow patients to determine who has visitation rights and who can make medical decisions. This right, extended to gay and lesbian couples, is supposed to give designated persons the same rights as immediate family members.
So, based on the available information pertaining to this incident, it appears that this could have been avoided altogether if the hospital had recognized this right, and honored Gorley’s request to find the power of attorney documents which would have given him the right to stay by his partner’s side.
Watch Gorley’s son-in-law describe the situation in the below video.
For more stories like this, visit the Progressive Populist blog