Joey's lack of medical or legal recourse after his romantic partner Cody's death is based in fact. Many real-life gay couples in the US have found themselves in similarly difficult circumstances in hospitals after one of them had a serious injury or developed a grave illness. One instance that garnered a great deal of media coverage, outrage, and legal action was the case of domestic partners Lisa Pond and Janice Langbehn. In 2007, Langbehn and Pond, who had been together almost two decades, traveled with three of their four children from their home in Washington State to Florida, where Pond had an aneurysm. Although the couple had drawn up legal documents to try to make official their relationship in lieu of legally recognized marriage (including health care proxies and a durable power of attorney), the hospital denied Langbehn any right to make health care decisions for Pond or even to see her (a hospital social worker told Langbehn, "I need you to know this is an anti-gay city and a anti-gay state, and you are not going to get to see her or know her condition.") Langbehn and their children were not allowed to see Pond before she died. Langbehn's subsequent suit against the hospital was unsuccessful, but the case did lead to an April 2010 directive from President Obama to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to prohibit visitation discrimination in all hospitals receiving Medicaid or Medicare funding. President Obama awarded Langbehn a 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal for "transform[ing] her own profound loss into a resounding call for compassion and equality."