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Local husband can't see ill wife because of hospital visitation policies

Posted at 8:37 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 22:37:48-04

FALCON — The last time Steve Reiter says he saw his wife, Elizabeth, was when an ambulance crew was putting her on a stretcher. She was being taken to Memorial Central Hospital to be looked at. At the time she was displaying symptoms of COVID-19. Soon after that Reiter says, they both were tested.

"I tested negative for COVID last week," Reiter said. "I don't have COVID and she tested negative twice. I just want to hold her hand and speak life over her. "

Lately, Reiter speaks to the love of his life over the phone. Right now, she's at a hospital in Denver. A couple of weeks ago, when she began displaying symptoms of COVID-19, she was instead diagnosed with a lung and blood infection. Reiter says she's also battling double pneumonia. Reiter says Elizabeth has auto-immune issues and pulmonary hypertension, making her an at-risk patient. At first she was admitted to Memorial Central, now she's at Colorado University at Denver-Anshutz. Elizabeth still has not been diagnosed with Coronavirus.

"Extra trauma is being heaped on people and they're being put at risk in ways that are not healthy," Reiter stated.

Reiter is worried that his wife won't have the emotional support she needs, because she couldn't have visitors at both Memorial Central, and now at CU-Denver.

"I understand protection but this is asinine," Reiter said.

Meanwhile at Penrose St. Francis Hospital, things are slowly getting back to how they once were. Dr. Toni Green-Cheat-wood, Physician Executive and Group VIce President for Centura Health, says last Monday the hospital returned to its one visitor per patient policy. The visitors who do come in must enter through center entry points. They must also wear a mask and will be screened.

"They'll be asked some questions about how they're feeling, and will also have their temperature taken," Green-Cheatwood said.

Green-Cheatwood says she understands adjusting to these rules is difficult but even though signs of normalcy are returning, there's still reason to be concerned about the spread of Coronavirus.

"It feels very reassuring because things are opening, and we are getting back to some version of normal but we're not there yet," she said.

In the mean time, Reiter says he and his family have nothing left to do but be patient and hopeful that his wife makes a full recovery, and that local hospitals will revise their visitation policies.