COVID-19 visitor restrictions frustrate parents trying to see hospitalized son

Hospital board approved one visitor Friday
Posted at 5:40 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 19:41:26-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A family from Wichita is just one of many frustrated with the COVID-19 guidelines for visitors at area hospitals.

Josh and Sandra Schepis have been fighting to be able to see their son, who is in the surgical intensive care unit at The University of Kansas Health System.

“I just think that he is feeling so alone and that makes me feel so helpless as a parent," Sandra said.

She told 41 Action News that her 23-year-old son was admitted to the hospital Saturday after attempting suicide.

He's scheduled to have his second brain surgery Monday since being admitted.

“I get that he is getting the best care there and he’s being taken care of and they are helping him stay alive, but they’re not his mom," Sandra said. "They’re not talking to him and rubbing his leg and rubbing his arm and letting him know that I’m here and he’s not alone."

With the global COVID-19 pandemic, the protocols for visitors at The University of Kansas Health System are changing every day.

Currently, one visitor is allowed for patients younger than 18, patients giving birth, patients with a disability, patients undergoing an outpatient procedure and patients in end-of-life situations.

Meanwhile, the Schepis family has been fighting the hospital to be able to be by their son's side.

“A person with a traumatic brain injury in the surgical intensive care unit, getting ready to have brain surgery on Monday, should probably fit into that category," John said. "But they’re making those decisions and it's affecting families like ours and it's affecting our son's life, potentially."

After the Schpeises met with the hospital Friday, the hospital's board approved her son to have one visitor.

Now, Sandra can be in the hospital room to visit her son, but she is only allowed to go to and from the hospital and her Airbnb.

“We don’t want to put our son's life above everyone else," John said, "but, as a parent, who’s not going to do that?"