It’s been a crazy day over here in Vermont, but I just can’t step away from the computer until I brought you all up to date on the latest in the horrifying story of Roger Gorley, who earlier this week was arrested for refusing to leave his husband Allen’s bedside at a Missouri hospital.
Because it’s 9:00 at night, though, instead of whipping up a piece myself I’ll bring together information from several of my amazing LGBT movement colleagues who’ve reported on the issue throughout the day, along with links to their full stories.
Zack Ford at ThinkProgress has a handy breakdown of everything that happened up through 10:30 this morning. Drawing from a blog post written by Gorley’s daughter Amanda, Ford writes
that Allen was at the hospital to receive electro-shock treatment for severe depression, and that he had specifically excluded his family from having any say over his medical decisions. Because of Allen’s regular treatments at Research Medical Center, he and Roger are well known to hospital staff as a couple.
Ford’s report also discusses the details of Allen’s admission to the hospital on Tuesday along with the confrontation between Roger and Allen’s brother Lee that led to Roger’s arrest. Ford notes that Allen tried to voice his objection to the attempt to remove Roger from the room, saying “I want him here.”
The nurse, who knew Roger’s relationship with Allen because she’d previously treated him, refused to acknowledge their legal relationship and called security officers. When Roger did not comply with their order to leave, they “wrestled [him] to the ground, [knocked] his glasses off his face, his hearing aids out of his ears, and nearly [broke] his wrist in the process.” The struggle drew blood.
Amanda told AMERICAblog’s John Aravosis that officers assumed Roger had AIDS simply because he was a gay man. They changed his handcuffs four different times, and one officer refused to even take his handcuffs back after they’d made contact with Roger’s skin.
The hospital released a statement yesterday blaming Roger, the victim in this case, by accusing him of “disruptive and belligerent behavior.” (However, as I pointed out yesterday, Roger was being dragged out of his husband’s hospital room against both of their clearly expressed wishes. How would anyone react in that situation? For my part, I’d react with disruptive and belligerent behavior.)
Aravosis also reports that, as I suspected, Research Medical Center appears to take Medicare and Medicaid funding, so it falls under the purview of President Obama’s 2010 executive order mandating nondiscrimination in hospital visitation. (Sign my petition telling the Obama administration to cut off the hospital’s federal funding — almost 4,600 already have!)
The hospital released another statement today contradicting its original statement and simultaneously claiming that Roger was kicked out for being too loud and that he was removed because he was unable to show his medical power of attorney document for Allen. However, according to federal regulations and Aravosis’s extensive analysis, the hospital shouldn’t have needed the document at all because a.) Allen himself was saying “I want [Roger] here,” b.) the hospital was already aware the men were a couple and Roger was supposed to be in charge, and c.) even if by some chance the hospital had inexplicably forgotten about the men’s relationship, all Roger should have had to provide was proof that he and Allen shared a household, such as a driver’s license. There is no evidence that Research Medical Center made any attempt to do so.
So basically, the hospital is continuing to deny responsibility and deflect blame as the story of its unconscionable treatment of Roger Gorley and Allen Mansell catches fire in the national media.
For her part, Gorley’s adult daughter Amanda calls the hospital’s allegations “absolute and utter bullshit.”
Oh, and David Badash at the New Civil Rights Movement found this little gem: a woman named Paula Grant, who claims to be a former Research Medical Center employee, said in comments posted on Facebook today:
I worked at Research Medical for years and I know the security guys. They follow strict guidelines, male or female, family or not, if you are causing a scene you will be removed. There are other patients, employees and visitors to think about. It makes news because of the fags [Emphasis mine].
Lovely, isn’t it? If this woman’s appalling homophobia is any indication of Research Medical Center’s attitude toward its gay and lesbian patients, it seems to have been only a matter of time before such an horrific incident took place there.
UPDATE: The New York Times has taken note of the story and is reporting that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is looking into the allegations. PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE THIS PETITION with everyone you know to keep the pressure on HHS so they follow through. It’s vitally important that the Obama administration sends a clear, unmistakable message to hospitals around the country that this kind of inhumane and homophobic conduct is unacceptable and will be punished.
UPDATE 2: Please also sign this whitehouse.gov petition.