COVID-19: 'They threw me out unceremoniously,' said hospital visitor after ban
MONTREAL -- Anguished family members used to visiting loved ones at the hospital are reacting with confusion and sometimes anger at the decision to ban visitors from hospitals, long-term and senior care facilities.
Premier Francois Legault announced the ban yesterday in an effort to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, which he deemed a public-health emergency.
Rosemary Burton is in her 60s and was at the Jewish General Hospital Saturday to visit and help care for her husband who has been at the hospital for a week-and-a-half.
"He's on oxygen and can barely move, and they threw me out unceremoniously because the government said there are no visitors," she said. "I am extremely upset."
Hospital spokesperson Carl Theriault said as a precaution "visiting patients and residents at CIUSSS West-Central Montreal sites is suspended until further notice."
"We understand that this is a very emotional and upsetting time for everybody involved in the ban of visitors to our sites," he said.
Other family members told CTV News that family members were escorted out crying hysterically by security guards when they refused to leave.
Theriault said visitors were "politely and respectfully asked to leave the premises" after the ban was announced.
"At no moment were individuals 'dragged out' of the hospital or any of our sites as this goes against our policy," he said responding to some complaints forwarded to CTV News.
Janet Vekteris, her two sisters, and paid caregivers visit Vekteris's mother at the CHSLD Vigi Reine-Elizabeth in NDG. Janet was visiting her 91-year-old mother at the time of Legault's announcement and stayed in her room fearing she would not be allowed back.
She understands the need to bar children and visitors in general but wishes the government would realize that those like her are performing a function.
"We consider ourselves healthcare workers on a volunteer basis. We're taking care of one person. I probably washed my hands 100 times yesterday," said Vekteris, whose mother uses a wheelchair and suffers from anxiety and PTSD.
Vekteris feels there should be exceptions, and that those that want to visit could be given tests. She knows that the residence is understaffed, and appreciates the help. She added that no one treated her unkindly while at the centre Saturday.