The story of a gay man who was arrested for refusing to the leave his sick partner at a Missouri hospital made headlines across the nation earlier this week. Now, new details about the ordeal are painting a very disturbing picture of the alleged events.
Roger Gorley was handcuffed and forcibly removed from Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday after he refused to leave his partner, Allen, who was receiving treatment for severe depression. Roger told Fox station WDAF that the hospital is guilty of discrimination. However, Research Medical Center denies the accusation, saying Roger was “disruptive and belligerent” and had to be escorted from the premises, according to a statement obtained by The Huffington Post.
But according to Amanda Brown, the 26-year-old daughter of Roger, there is much more to the story than hospital officials are letting on.
Speaking with John Aravosis of America Blog, the woman said Allen’s brother, Lee, didn’t want Roger at the hospital. Lee confronted Roger in front of a nurse, and the nurse allegedly had Roger removed, even though Allen had said he wanted his partner there.
Roger and Allen, who have been together for five years, are in a civil union and make medical decisions for each other through Power of Attorney.
“Lee was being more crazy than my dad, he was the one who was yelling,” Brown said.
Still, the nurse — who supposedly was aware of Roger and Allen’s status — “directed her comments to Roger, ‘You need to leave the room.’ My dad said, ‘No, this is my husband, I’m going to stay with him,” Brown added.
Shortly after, the police arrived.
Amanda described the interaction between her father and law enforcement in a We Are Atheism blog post:
When the Kansas City Missouri Police Department arrived they asked my father to leave the room. He said to them, “No. This is my husband and I am going to stay with him.” The police considered that a violation of a direct order so they began to forcibly remove him from the room. My father held onto the rail of the gurney as well as his husbands hand with everything he had. The police responded with brut and excessive force. The office began karate chopping his wrist to get him to release the gurney. Then they wrestled him to the ground forcefully enough to knock his glasses off of his face, his hearing aids out of his ears, and nearly break his wrist while they took him down. To handcuff him they pushed a knee into his back and wrenched his wrists around.
She also says her father was cut in the process and began bleeding. She added that one of the officers seemed to be afraid Roger could be HIV-positive.
“One of the arresting officers was so offended by my father’s presence that he would not touch him with his bare hands,” she said. “He wore gloves the entire time and to make matters even more humiliating he didn’t want his handcuffs back.”
A representative for the Kansas City Police Department told HuffPost that hospital security dealt with Roger while he was in the room. She said police arrived to escort him out of the hospital.
As for the accusation that an officer was wary about Roger bleeding, she said wearing gloves is protocol.
“I don’t know if that was a Kansas City officer,” the spokeswoman told HuffPost. “I can’t speak to that. The only thing I can speak to is the way we handle anyone when there is blood present. It’s a protection of ourselves from any bodily fluids. What [Brown] described isn’t unusual. It doesn’t have to do with his sexual preference. We don’t know — when we come into contact with people — what they have or may not have. We just try to be safe.”
Not only is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) working with Roger, but the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is also looking into the incident.
“All Americans are guaranteed the right to receive hospital visitors that they designate, and there are specific protections in our rules for same-sex couples across the country,” a representative for CMS told BuzzFeed. “We take alleged violations of federal rules around hospital visitation very seriously.”
In 2010, President Barack Obama extended hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners in a federal regulation aimed at hospitals participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs. Tuesday’s events could be in direct violation of this ruling.
Still, Research Medical Center says there was never any discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“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,” the hospital responded in a Facebook post.