Jake Kleinmahon, MD, and his husband Tom hoped to make Louisiana their family's forever home when they moved there in 2018. Kleinmahon, a pediatric cardiologist who received his medical training at Tulane University in New Orleans, accepted a position as director of the pediatric heart transplant program at a local hospital, and the family put down roots, jumping into community groups and activities.
Jake and Tom, along with their two children, quickly grew to love New Orleans and their life as Louisianans. And Jake took particular pride in helping to raise the level of health care for children, so that those needing heart transplants no longer needed to go out of state for treatment, as many previously needed to do, due to a lack of pediatric transplant specialists in Louisiana.
That's what made the decision the family faced this year so difficult: In the wake of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation passed recently by the Louisiana state legislature, they felt they had no choice but to relocate to a more welcoming location.
In a recent interview with CNN, Kleinmahon described coming to the kind of painful realization that is hitting so many LGBTQ+ families in states around the country: "They are not going to support our children; they are not going to support our family. And although we love New Orleans and we love Louisiana with all of our hearts, we can't raise our children in this environment."
Jake, Tom and their children are now happily re-building their lives in a welcoming community.
As for the young patients needing cardiatric care in Louisiana?
There are now only 2 pediatric cardiologists left to manage transplants in the state. "That is going to affect care," Kleinmahon told CNN, adding that "the absolute hardest part is me saying goodbye to my patients."
"I don't know how many families in the last couple weeks have just melted into my arms in tears when I tell them that I'm leaving."
Read more about Dr. Kleinmahon and his family, along with others facing difficult choices as a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation reaches across the country, in this article from CNN.
Ellis, Nicquel Terry. (2023, September 1). One of Louisiana's only pediatric cardiologists has left the state over anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2023/09/01/us/jake-kleinmahon-doctor-leaves-louisiana-reaj/index.html#:~:text=Wh...,he%20felt%20drawn%20to%20Louisiana.