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Executive Office

1611 N.W. 12th Avenue

Miami, Florida 33136-1096

April 16, 2010

President Barack Obama

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We would like to commend you for taking a strong stance against sexual orientation and gender identity
discrimination in regard to hospital visitation rights. Jackson Health System (JHS) in Miami is proud to be a
nationwide leader in this effort. Jackson has always been inclusive of the homosexual, bisexual and
transgender community. Still, we recently updated all of our policies, including visitation, to make them even
more specifically inclusive for any patient, family member or visitor who walks through our doors.

Throughout this yearlong process, JHS worked with the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, as well as
national organizations including Alliance for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth;
CenterLink; Equality Florida; Florida Together; Lambda Legal; Miami Workers' Center; Out with Cancer;
Pride Center at Equality Park; SAVE Dade; and the Transgender Equality Rights Initiative.

Included in our revised policies is a new definition of “family, family member and visitor” and a clear
process for family and visitors to file and resolve policy disputes regarding patient access. Jackson’s mission
is to provide one standard of quality care for all our patients. Equal treatment and care for everyone,
regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status or other aspects of personal
identity, is of paramount importance to our institution.

We would also like to take this opportunity to provide you with some clarification on the allegations being
made by Janice Langbehn, whose partner was treated at Jackson’s Ryder Trauma Center in 2007. From the
beginning, JHS has vehemently denied that Ms. Langbehn was denied visitation due to her sexual
orientation. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed Ms. Langbehn’s
lawsuit against Jackson Memorial Hospital in September 2009.

Ms. Langbehn’s allegations and those made by published articles, blogs, etc., are inaccurate and have
damaged the reputations and deeply hurt the feelings of the personnel in our trauma center. They have
devoted their careers to all who come through our doors, from all walks of life.

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. With that
said, our first priority when a patient is brought to our trauma center is always to stabilize the patient and
save their life. As the only adult and pediatric Level 1 trauma center in Miami-Dade County to support a
population of more than 2.3 million people, our facility is one of the busiest – and most renowned – in the
The Trauma Resuscitation Unit in Ryder Trauma Center, where Lisa Pond was treated when airlifted to
Jackson, is more like a large operating room with multiple beds separated by glass partitions rather than a
traditional hospital floor. Sometimes, visitors are not able to see a loved one in the trauma bay as quickly as
they would like or they may have to wait until the patient is moved to the ICU or to another area of the
hospital that is better suited for visitation. This all depends on the circumstances of the situation, how busy
the unit is at the time and the medical conditions of the patients in the unit at the time. The patients in this
area are facing life-threatening injuries or illnesses and are extremely vulnerable.

The most important piece of information to consider from our side of this story is that the charge nurse on
duty the night Ms. Pond was in our care – and the person who made all visitation access decisions that
evening – is herself a lesbian with a life partner. In addition, numerous members of the medical team
working in our trauma unit are openly homosexual. We can assure you that Ms. Langbehn was not treated
differently because of her sexual orientation.

This case took its toll on everyone involved, and we continue to be deeply sorry for the devastating loss
suffered by Ms. Langbehn and her children.

Again, we applaud you for your efforts and are proud of our history as a model institution in demonstrating
our long-standing commitment to equality for LGBT patient care.


Eneida O. Roldan, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. John H. Copeland III

President & C.E.O. Chairman
Jackson Health System Public Health Trust Board of Trustees