Andrew Cuomo's Ban On Hospital Visits Is Cruel

Andrew Cuomo’s policy of barring visitors in nursing homes and hospitals is inhumane and illogical.

               It inflicts cruel and unusual punishment upon people who have done nothing other than have the misfortune to live under his tyrannical rule.

               He has imposed suffering of the cruelest nature upon residents, patients and families, and it is an indictment of the health care industry that it has not challenged him on behalf of the people it supposedly serves.

               In mid-March, Andrew Cuomo placed a ban on all visitors to nursing homes. Unfortunately, he simultaneously approved the transfer of covid-positive patients to nursing homes and allowed covid-positive employees to continue to provide care.

               Families can’t enter nursing homes because they might bring the virus, but the state of New York sent the virus there. No screening of employees or vendors, and no admittance for families.

               It made no sense.

               And it doomed scores to lonely unattended deaths.

               As it continues to do, and as a similar visitor ban at hospitals dooms families in health crisis to separation and pain.

               Parents send children to surgery and hospitalization, alone. Husbands with cancer disappear into fortress-like hospitals, their wives and children weeping at the door, unable to follow, unable to comfort, unable to share.

               Because Andrew Cuomo said so.

               Because he wants it that way.

               And it is wrong. Morally wrong. Incomprehensibly cruel. Completely unnecessary.

               Because if employees can go in and out of a hospital or nursing home, so can family members.


               It’s that simple.

               If it is possible to use infection control, testing and screening to move doctors and nurses, cooks and janitors, in and out of health-care facilities, then those same steps can allow spouses and children to do the same.

               And it is a hateful, arrogant thoughtlessness that asserts otherwise.

               To believe that a doctor or lab tech or CNA is more important to an elderly person or hospital patient than a loving relative is preposterous.

               Further, the notion that some institution or non-judicial exercise of governmental power could separate members of a family from one another is not only un-American, it is inhuman. The winning of an election or the conferral of a medical degree does not give one power superior to the God-given bonds of love and family.

               Loved ones standing in parking lots holding up signs are a testament to their purity and the governor’s evil.

               Because, again, this is unnecessary.

               Vendors make daily deliveries to hospitals and nursing homes. Ladies come in to tend the plants. Custodial staff comes in to mop the floors and clean the bathrooms. Clerks come in to update reports and file records. Any number of people wearing scrubs punch in and out around the clock. CNAs work their shifts like regular.

               But clergy cannot visit to administer sacred rites or to pray or to offer counsel.

               Spouses and children are forbidden, parents and friends may not enter. Patients and residents are condemned to small, solitary, suffering existences, pent up in little rooms suffering from the isolation, too often dying alone.

               Yes, we know this is true of covid patients. But they are less than one percent of the people hospitalized or dying in America. We are wrong to ignore the needless suffering imposed on all the elderly and ill, regardless of their diagnosis.

               And the governor is wrong to make it continue.

               And he is dishonest when he seeks to avoid responsibility for it.

               He is Andrew the Virus King, and he is all powerful. It is his dictate that has closed the nursing home and hospital doors, and only he can open them.

               Perhaps he needs to bring back the imagery of his mother, the Matilda for whom all this is theoretically being done. Perhaps he needs to think of his own mother, alone and unvisited in a disorienting institution. Maybe he could stand in the parking lot and wave.

               Or maybe he could stop this torture.

               There are masks aplenty – he has mandated surpluses extending three months into the future – and unused testing capabilities – his parking-lot nose swabbings sit mostly empty. If protocols and procedures can be developed for patients’ caregivers, they can be developed for patients’ spouses.

               If the janitor can get in your child’s room, so can you.

               And it is a sin that the health care community doesn’t demand it, and the governor doesn’t allow it.

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