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Arizona hospitals restrict visitors due to COVID-19

Banner visitor said he was kicked out and threatened with arrest for getting items from his car
Hospital bed generic
Posted at 6:09 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 22:05:06-04

GLENDALE, AZ — A Valley man, whose wife gave birth Monday, said he was threatened with arrest if he returned to a Valley hospital for allegedly violating the visitor policy. The man said he was given conflicting information about whether he could get belonging out of his car, and now he's missing his infant son's first hours.

Arizona hospitals have drastically changed their visitation policies. Many are saying no visitors are allowed at all with limited exceptions. Here are links to some of their policies online:

Banner Health: https://www.bannerhealth.com/patients/patient-resources/visitor-restrictions
Dignity Health: https://www.dignityhealth.org/arizona/arizona-visitors
Honor Health: https://www.honorhealth.com/coronavirus-covid-19#restrictions
Northern Arizona Health Care: https://www.nahealth.com/family-friends-services/covid-19/new-visitation-practice
Phoenix Children's Hospital: https://www.phoenixchildrens.org/
Abrazo Healthcare: https://www.abrazohealth.com/our-response-to-covid-19/visitor-information
Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/covid-19/arizona

Collin Hutcheson, 20, said that he was his wife's one permitted visitor for labor and delivery at Banner Thunderbird Hospital in Glendale.

Hutcheson said the first time he went to his car Monday, a security employee said he could only go out once, unless he got permission from staff to go out again. Hours later, after his son Joshua was born, Hutcheson said he obtained permission from three nurses stationed at a door to go out again to his car. After he returned and was boarding an elevator, Hutcheson said security, including what appeared to be a law enforcement officer with a gun, stopped him and asked him to go outside.

"Then he told me if I come back again, I’m gonna get arrested, and he’ll be the one to arrest me," Hutcheson said.

A Banner spokeswoman said patient privacy prevented her from commenting specifically on Hutcheson's claims.

She did send a statement that said, "They cannot allow visitors to come in and out of our hospitals numerous times throughout the day." The spokeswoman explained in-and-out trips pose a greater risk for patients and staff during the COVID-19 outbreak.

"We communicate this policy clearly," the spokeswoman wrote.

Hutcheson said, if that message had been communicated clearly to him, he wouldn't be missing out now.

"For her [his wife] and I to share his first day, his first moments, it’s something I don’t wanna miss," Hutcheson said. Hutcheson said he's been in communication with the hospital, and he was granted permission to pick up his wife curbside and sign his son's birth certificate when they are ready to be discharged. He said the hospital would not allow another relative to visit in his place.