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Sask. woman unable to see husband in hospital after severe crash
REGINA -- A Milestone-area woman and her three kids have not seen their husband and father in weeks after he was severely injured in a crash earlier this month.
Brian Mandel was airlifted by STARS Air Ambulance to the Regina General Hospital on May 14. Since then his wife, Chelsey, has only been able to see him via video due to COVID-19 restrictions in place on hospital visits.
“Your spouse is your other half, without them I don't know, you're kind of lost,” Chelsey said. “You can't touch them, you can't see them, nothing.”
Chelsey is not the only one struggling with the situation.
“He’s just in there by himself after a traumatic brain injury and he’s confused and he wants something that’s familiar,” Chelsey said. “He asks for me everyday, he asks to see his kids every day. He wants to touch them and hold them.”
It’s a contrast to the birth of their daughter last month, when Brian was allowed to be with Chelsey in hospital as her support person. She’d like to see similar rules in place for visiting those in care.
“I don’t think that there should be a flood of visitors to the hospital,” Chelsey explained. “We don’t need the whole family, just something that’s familiar.”
On Tuesday Health Minister Jim Reiter said a cautious approach is being discussed in order to prevent outbreaks.
“We want to make sure that doesn’t happen here,” Reiter said. “But we recognize how desperately many patients in hospitals and seniors in long term care facilities would like visitors.”
The Saskatchewan Health Authority said it has established a panel to help guide recommendations to support family presence and expanded visitation across its facilities with more details in the weeks to come.
“We are still working on other ways to expand visitation as you know through the use of virtual visits but we also know at this time from the feedback we’re getting across the province that that simply isn’t enough,” SHA CEO Scott Livingstone said. “You’ll see some changes the week of June 1.”
The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses said it has the utmost empathy for families unable to see their loved ones, but add for the safety of both vulnerable patients and healthcare workers it’s best to stay the course.
“We’ve been the ones on the inside with the loved ones when their family can’t be there, and we know how difficult that’s been,” SUN President Tracy Zambory said.
Brian continues to recover from his injuries in hospital, but Chelsey says he still has a long road ahead of him, one she hopes to be able to support him through in person sooner rather than later.