by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Stacey Lennox writes for PJMedia.com about the latest high-profile action from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
On July 5, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the No Patient Left Alone Act to right some of the most egregious wrongs of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, hospitals nationwide denied patients visitation, even at the end of their lives. Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities did the same. Closing healthcare facilities to visitation from family is no longer legal in Florida.
During the announcement, DeSantis explained, “It [the law] increases patient protections and ensures Florida families have a fundamental right to visit their loved ones receiving care in Florida hospitals, hospices, and long-term care facilities.” It also prevents the facilities from requiring that family members receive a COVID-19 vaccination to access visitation and bans any policy that prevents them from having physical contact, such as hugging their loved ones. “This ensures families can be there and patients can have their support system around them when it matters most,” DeSantis added.
One woman in Florida made national news during the pandemic and met DeSantis to share her story. Mary Daniel’s husband suffered from Alzheimer’s and was in long-term care in Florida when the pandemic began. She visited her husband every day after work and spent the evening with him. On March 11, 2020, she kissed him goodnight. On March 12, the staff called her and said she could not come back. …
… She spent 114 days advocating for herself and other families and figuring out how to get back to the daily routine her husband was used to. Daniel received national media attention when she took a part-time job as a dishwasher in her husband’s facility just to check on him. She also started to connect with other families in similar situations. …