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Missouri: Gay man arrested for refusing to leave partner’s bedside

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — A gay man was arrested and was subsequently issued a restraining order after he refused to leave the hospital bedside of his partner, Pink News reports.

According to the report, Roger Gorley says he has power of attorney to handle the affairs of his partner, Allen Mansell, but a family member allegedly asked Gorley to leave Mansell's bedside at Kansas City's Research Medical Center April 9.

Gorley was reportedly handcuffed and escorted from the premises when he refused to leave.

The report quotes Gorley as saying he was not recognized as being the husband or partner. Gorley also alleged that a nurse refused to verify that he had power of attorney and was able to make medical decisions on his partner's behalf. 

The hospital issued a statement saying that it believes "involving the family is an important part of the patient care process" and that the patient's needs are its first priority. 

The statement continues, "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."

A number of media reports point to a memorandum President Barack Obama issued in 2010 that instructs the Department of Health and Human Services to "ensure that hospitals that participate in Medicare or Medicaid respect the rights of patients to designate visitors." 

The memorandum states in part, "It should be made clear that designated visitors, including individuals designated by legally valid advance directives (such as durable powers of attorney and health care proxies), should enjoy visitation privileges that are no more restrictive than those that immediate family members enjoy. You should also provide that participating hospitals may not deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability." 

But Zack Ford of the ThinkProgress news site says there's a passage in Missouri law regarding powers of attorney that may grant a hospital or other healthcare facility some wiggle room to refuse to honour such agreements.

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