KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Lee's Summit, Missouri man is trying to figure out why a Kansas City hospital removed him from the room of his hospitalized partner Tuesday evening.
Roger Gorley found himself handcuffed and bleeding when hospital security forcefully took him from the bedside of his partner, Allen Mansell, after getting into an altercation with Allen's brother.
This week, the story went viral. It was picked up by several national news outlets and reported as a gay rights issue. But Allen's brother, Lee Mansell, said he's not homophobic and just wants what's best for him. Research Medical Center said they were following standard operating procedure dealing with "disruptive and belligerent behavior."
Our sister station in Kansas City, 41 Action News, spoke to all the parties involved to bring you the full story.
Roger and Allen have been together for five years. According to Roger, Allen suffers from severe depression.
On Tuesday, Roger's daughter, Amanda Brown, was taking care of Allen while he was at work. But Allen's brother ended up calling 911 when he couldn't get a hold of him.
"I was worried about him," Lee said. "I know he has had some falls, and I didn't know what was going on or if he was still there."
Paramedics transported Allen to Research Medical Center.
When Roger arrived at the hospital, other members of Allen's family were also there, including Lee.
According to Roger and Amanda, Lee argued he would be the one making any medical decision for his brother.
But Lee did not have the right to do so. While Allen and Roger do not have a state-recognized marriage, they do have power of attorney over each other's medical decisions.
"All the times I've taken Allen to the hospital -- and it's been many times -- I've always been by his side," Roger explained.
He said Lee shouldn't have called 911 without letting him know in the first place.
"Haul your husband into a hospital without even talking to me about it -- that's like overwriting us as a couple of who we are," Roger said. "That would be like me going over to his house and taking his wife and hauling her off to the hospital without talking to him."
Lee and Roger ended up getting into an argument over Allen's medical care in the hospital room.
"I know the conversation got a little heated, and the nurse had come in the first time and said 'you two need to leave the room,' so we kind of quieted down for a minute," Lee recounted. "Roger wanted me to leave the room, and I told him 'well, no, you need to leave the room' and the nurses came in the second time and said 'you both need to leave the room.'"
When Roger didn't leave, a nurse called hospital security officers, who took him into custody.
Cpt. Steve Young, a spokesperson for the Kansas City Police Department, said officers were called to Research Medical Center by the hospital security. When they arrived, Roger was already in handcuffs and bleeding. The KCPD officers wore gloves to transfer Roger into their cuffs as standard procedure.
Roger told 41 Action News he wasn't being disruptive -- and that security got violent.
"Hospital security came, and it started to hit me on my wrist" while he was holding onto Allen's bed, Roger said. "(They) hit me ... because I was holding on, and they kept hitting and kept hitting and kept hitting."
But Lee said this is all being blown out of proportion. He said he only wants what's best for his brother, and that it's not a gay rights issue.
He explained he wasn't trying to keep Roger from the hospital -- in fact, both of them were asked to leave the room. He said he did leave once hospital security arrived, but he didn't know Roger had been arrested until later.
"I was kind of scared for him, and I was upset for Allen," Lee said. "I love Roger like I do my brother ... it's heart-wrenching for me to see my brother's husband being taken away."
Lee said he's starting to get death threats because previous media reports made him out to be homophobic.
"I've been called everything from a homophobe to things you can't even say on TV," he said. "I've had physical threats since someone was nice enough to post my email address online."
Research Medical Center sent out this statement on Wednesday:
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.
We also reached out to Research Medical Center on Friday. They released an updated statement on the incident, clarifying details the said were misreported in earlier coverage:
We appreciate your concern and would like to assure you that Research Medical Center puts the care of our patients as our #1 priority regardless of sexual orientation. We support all the communities we serve.
We have a long history of commitment to a culture of diversity. 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.
We would also like to correct the misinformation about a restraining order. There was no issue of a restraining order by the hospital.
Roger was allowed back into the hospital Thursday and Friday. He said Allen is aware the story has made national headlines, but he wants his brother and partner to make up.