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Hospital sued for parting lesbian couple

June 26, 2008 at 12:07 PM

MIAMI, June 26 (UPI) -- A Washington woman said she filed a federal lawsuit accusing a Miami hospital of "anti-gay animus" after workers refused to let her see her dying partner.

Janice Langbehn and her partner Lisa Marie Pond, both aged 39, intended to enjoy a vacation cruise with three of their four children, marking the women's 18 years as a couple in February 2007, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Thursday.

The trip abruptly ended when Pond had a massive stroke as the ship was preparing to leave port, the newspaper said.

She was taken to Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, where Langbehn said workers would not let her see her ailing partner.

A social worker allegedly said the couple was in an "anti-gay city and state."

Pond died about 18 hours after she arrived at Jackson's Ryder Trauma Center.

Langbehn said she was permitted to see Pond for no more than about five minutes.

The suit, lodged in U.S. District Court in Miami, seeks at least $75,000 and accuses physicians Alois Zauner and Carlos Alberto Cruz and social worker Garnett Frederick of negligence and "intentional infliction of emotional distress."

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