TUALATIN, Ore. — The parking lot of Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center is about as close as Jim Stanglewicz will be getting to his wife, Sher June. She has been in the ICU for several days. Her condition is not tied to the coronavirus.
"She had a heart attack," said Stanglewicz. "Her sodium went out of balance and that caused swelling in her brain."
When Sher was first admitted to the hospital, the visitor policy, adopted during the coronavirus outbreak, allowed for one visitor. Stanglewicz was that visitor. He wanted to be there for his wife.
Legacy then changed its visitor policy. The new policy banned all visitors unless the patient is a child, giving birth, or nearing the end of life. Sher did not fall into any of those categories. Stanglewicz was out of luck. Security escorted him out of the hospital.
"I don't even get to say goodbye to my wife," he said. "This doesn't seem right."
Hospitals across the metro area have similar policies in place. OHSU has banned all visitors unless the patient is a child, an adult with significant developmental delay or dementia, in labor, at nearing the end of life. Hospitals in the Providence system are allowing only one visitor for each patient.
"I don't blame the hospital staff," said Stanglewicz.
Stanglewicz understands the new restrictions in the new COVID-19 world we are living in. He is simply sad for himself and others who cannot be with loved ones at such a difficult time.
"How many deaths are going to result from the fact that their loved ones aren't there giving them emotional support at the time they need it most," he said.
All Stanglewicz can do now is hope his wife's condition improves enough that she can be discharged with the hospital.
"We're hoping to get her out of there as soon as possible."
In a statement from Legacy Director of Public Relations, Brian Terrett said:
Due to patient privacy laws, we can't comment on any particular patient's situation. As of today, we are not allowing visitors at all Legacy Health medical centers. We recognize that this will be difficult for patients and their loved ones but it is important for protecting our patients and staff from COVID-19. We strongly encourage families to stay in touch with patients through calls, web conferencing, and social media. In addition to taking care of patients, our doctors and nurses are doing everything they can to help patients stay in contact with their loved ones.