Roger Gorley was arrested in Kansas City, Missouri when he attempted to visit his ailing partner, husband Allen Mansell in a local hospital. The full rundown on what happened is noted by Gorley’s 26-year-old daughter on her blog, We Are Atheism.
News spread Thursday about the arrest of Roger Gorley, who had been trying to visit at Research Medical Center in Kansas City with the man he described in a Facebook note as his husband, Allen Mansell. The two were joined in a civil union.
When one of Mansell’s family members asked him to leave, he refused and was later arrested. According to a note posted on Research Medical Center’s Facebook page Thursday afternoon, “This was an issue of disruptive and belligerent behavior by the visitor that affected patient care.” The hospital also states in the post that the decision was unrelated to sexual orientation.
At President Obama’s direction during his first term, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued regulations mandating that hospitals that receive Medicaid or Medicare funds allow patients the right to have visitors of their choosing, regardless of sexual orientation.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which enforces the regulations through coordination with the states, is looking into the situation. CMS spokesman Brian Cook told BuzzFeed Thursday afternoon, “CMS is aware of this specific issue and we are working to gather the facts and determine what steps to take in a speedy manner.”
The hospital released the following statement to Fox 4 News:
We believe involving the family is an important part of the patient care process. And, the patient`s needs are always our first priority. When anyone becomes disruptive to providing the necessary patient care, we involve our security team to help calm the situation and to protect our patients and staff. If the situation continues to escalate, we have no choice but to request police assistance.
Then on Thursday, VP of Marketing and Public Relations at Research Medical Center, Denise Charpentier, added:
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.
The hospital’s official Facebook page posted the following update:
In accordance with HIPAA, all Research Medical Center can report is that this is NOT a Gay Rights issue but an issue of disturbance where the patient was not able to get the care he needed.
Additional background on the two men at the center of this battle is available here.