Tags: Coronavirus | us hospitals | hospital visits | coronavirus crisis

Hospitals Barring Visitors During Coronavirus Crisis

a 'no visitors' sign is posted on the door at st. barnabas hospital in new york
A sign is posted on the door of the Emergency Department at St. Barnabas Hospital on March 23, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Misha Friedman/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 30 March 2020 11:27 AM

Hospitals in all 50 states and in dozens of countries worldwide are barring visitors — even for those who are at death’s door because of the coronavirus.

The only exceptions for some hospitals are for those receiving end-of-life care, hospitalized children, and pregnant women in labor, The New York Times reports.

“It’s a heart-wrenching thing to do,” said Dr. Laura Forese, executive vice president and chief operating officer of New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York tells the Times. “But it’s for everyone’s protection.”

Some hospitals are supplying iPads for patients so that they can have virtual visits with family members and others are using FaceTime to connect. After an outcry from expectant parents, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order that requires all medical facilities based in New York city to allow one support person for women in labor, says the Times.

According to CNN, a patient named Steve Kaminski was rushed to the hospital last week in New York’s Upper East Side and died a few days later of COVID-19. No visitors, including his family, were allowed to see him at Mt. Sinai Hospital before he died.

“It seemed so surreal,” Diane Sigel, Kaminski’s daughter-in-law told CNN. “How could someone pass so quickly with no family present?”

Experts say that our primal instinct -- to be near loved ones when we are a suffering and near death -- may be the very thing that kills us. Even priests are delivering last rites over the telephone.

Nancy Foster, a vice president of the American Hospital Association said, “This disease has demonstrated to us just how vulnerable the greater community can be when we have a virus circulating that no one has any immunity to. And that extraordinary reality has forced us to take extraordinary measures.”

However, medical staff are trying their best to ensure that the dying will not be alone when they pass. If the hospital cannot connect families and COVID-19 patients electronically, the staff will step in to comfort the dying, according to CNN.

“Even if the disease is too mighty, the ethic of not abandoning people is so strong,” Dr. Emily Rubin, a lung specialist and member of the Optimum Care Committee at Massachusetts General Hospital, told CNN. “We feel like being present with people at the end of life is a huge part of what we do. People in a hospital are not dying alone.”

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Hospitals in all 50 states and in dozens of countries worldwide are barring visitors — even for those who are at death’s door because of the coronavirus.
us hospitals, hospital visits, coronavirus crisis
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2020-27-30
Monday, 30 March 2020 11:27 AM
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