KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
March 25, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
The coronavirus pandemic has put incredible strains on the medical community. In addition to managing patients affected by the virus, or those concerned about potential symptoms, area hospitals have instituted changes to visitation policies, including maternity wards, during this national crisis.
As the impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, local hospitals are doing what they can to best care for their patients. For some, these policy changes are affecting special moments, such as the birth of a baby, by limiting how many visitors are allowed.
Katy resident April Carroll delivered her daughter, Ellie at Katy Memorial Hermann and experienced multiple changes to policies as her scheduled delivery approached.
"Even though our birth experience was very different than I planned or expected, it did allow for a very peaceful environment, where I could put 100% of my focus on birthing," says Carroll.
Many hospitals and medical practices are taking precautions during this time.
Texas Children’s Hospital - West Campus and Main Campus
“Our mission is to create a healthier future for children and women throughout our global community,” says Mark A. Wallace, President and CEO of Texas Children’s in a statement. “That has not changed, but the times have. Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is an unprecedented pandemic.”
At Texas Children’s Hospitals siblings and children under 18 years of age are not permitted as visitors at any time. All visitors will also be screened upon arrival. If a visitor, even if they are a parent, appears ill they will be asked to leave. Additionally, only one visitor over 18 is permitted at a time.
For more information visit their website.
Memorial Hermann Hospitals and Facilities
Memorial Hermann is also restricting visitors. Currently no visitors are allowed for patients in isolation, including those under evaluation or who have tested positive for coronavirus. This policy is in effect until further notice.
As for other patients, they are restricted to one visitor once a day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors must be older than 18 years of age and are subject to screening for illnesses.
These policies apply to all Memorial Hermann hospitals, clinics, and facilities.
For more information visit their website.
MD Anderson Cancer Center
MD Anderson is protecting their patients and staff by screening patients for COVID-19 symptoms at five entrances at their Texas Medical Center Campus. Employees are being screened at separate designated entrances.
Their campus no longer allows visitors at any time. The few exceptions include pediatric patients, patients unable to provide consent for themselves, and end-of-life patients.
Those visitors that meet the exceptions will be subject to daily COVID-19 screenings.
“We continue to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to proactively ensure our patients and workforce remain safe and protected,” states MD Anderson Hospital. Visit their website for more information including a map of approved entrances with screening and patient drop-off procedure.
Methodist Hospital - West Campus and Main Campus
Methodist Hospital is also taking significant steps to ensure the safety of their staff and patients. Currently they are not allowing any visitors. The only exceptions: end-of-life situations, laboring mothers, patients under 18, situations where family presence promotes the patient's well-being and/or care and goodbye visits of military personnel departing for deployment.
Richard Cook is currently at Methodist Hospital West Campus recovering from major foot surgery.
“I was told that I could have one visitor but chose not to,” he says. “My wife is immune compromised and I won’t risk my daughter getting exposed and then taking anything home to my grandchildren.”
For more information, including patient drop-off and pick-up instructions, visit their website.
All area hospitals are implementing strict restrictions during childbirth. With the risk of coronavirus, only the husband/partner is allowed during delivery. No family members will be permitted.
As hospitals continue to monitor the coronavirus, changes are being implemented often to ensure everyone's safety. Labor and delivery departments have experienced some of the most changes.
Due to the high risk nature of April Carroll's pregnancy, her delivery would be scheduled at 37 weeks. “We decided that our kids, my mom, my teenage sister and my friend/our photographer would be allowed in the room for the birth,” says April.
As news of the coronavirus began to dominate the nation, April called a week out from her delivery date. “They said there weren’t any restrictions in place yet," she says.
"Two days before delivery I called again and they said I could have my husband and 2 visitors. Then the day before we went in, around 10am, I got a call from the hospital that said I could have my husband and one visitor, but the visitor could only be there during visiting hours,” explains Carroll.
And the changes kept coming for the Carroll family. “Around 2:30pm, I got another call from the hospital that where I was told that the policy had changed again and only one support person could be with me per 24 hours and they had to be screened every day," she says.
"Around 2:30pm, I got another call from the hospital that where I was told that the policy had changed again and only one support person could be with me per 24 hours and they had to be screened every day."
Even as policies kept changing and the nation turned to the news, the Carroll family celebrated the birth of their healthy daughter.
All Other Medical Appointments
It’s recommended to cancel any non-essential medical appointments at this time. Most practices are offering virtual screening to avoid patients coming into their offices. If you feel that you need to see a doctor or an urgent care, reach out to the office for instructions.