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Family members react to Florida's No Patient Left Alone Act

Posted at 10:37 AM, Apr 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-08 10:37:12-04

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Patient family members and medical doctors are reacting to a new law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday called the No Patient Left Alone Act.

The bill requires hospitals and other medical type facilities to allow visitors during a variety of circumstances, including end of life, childbirth, pediatric care, when major medical decisions need to be made, and many more.

With the required allowed visitation, medical facilities must have policies in place for things like infection control.

They must also have their visitation policies posted in an easily accessible format.

"I think it's ethical and I think it's right to have family members there in the hospital," said Dr. Mark Pamer, a pulmonologist who has spent months inside covid ICU's. "I understand when covid started, we really didn't know much about it and so we came up with some draconian response to it that in retrospect weren't necessarily needed. Frankly when vaccinations become voluntary for the nurses and the healthcare staff, I don't think there were any reasons to not apply those same standards to the visitors."

For many during the early months of the pandemic, hospitals were shut down to visitors.

Many family members were unable to say goodbye to loved ones who passed away.

"There was nobody you could contact," said Paul Laroche. "I didn't know who his doctor was, who his nurse was, so basically, like you said, there was a sense of hopelessness."

Laroche's brother, Vladimir, spent 87 days in the covid ICU at Palm Beach Gardens Hospital.

He was admitted at the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020 and has since recovered.

Paul said during that time, his family often went days without communication about his brother's condition.

In a statement, Cleveland Clinic Hospitals officials said, "Patient safety remains a top priority at all of our hospitals, and we recognize that the support of family and loved ones is vitally important during the healing process. We are committed to visitation policies that facilitate healing and are in the best interests of our patients and caregivers."

WPTV has reached out to HCA network hospitals for comment and has not heard back.