Medical personnel should not have the right to keep families away from their loved ones in the hospital.
In November, Tennessee law makers added a new statute in the special session bill (HB9076) forbidding separation from a family member while in the hospital during a covid emergency time. (1)(2)
However, Governor Lee wants to change this law in January, so it only applies to patients during end of life. (3)
No patient deserves to be separated from family even during a national or state emergency.
Hospitals are facing drastic shortages of personnel. Across the nation additional medical personnel are needed to fill 35% more jobs than last year.
In a time of crisis, when demands on skilled care are higher, patients need to have a family member present at all times. Particularly during covid, conflict and confusion can arise between families and doctors over treatment options. Families have a right to be present and involved in all decision-making. (4)
Further, isolation under any conditions threatens recovery. Stress, depression, loneliness and hopelessness can undermine treatment. Isolation is particularly dangerous for the elderly. (5)
Lawmakers in Nashville will be considering a change to the new law in January which currently requires hospitals to let a family member stay in the room. Our loved ones are depending on us to be their voice.
We have 30 days to call and write Gov. Lee, Sen. Ken Yager, Rep. Kelly Kiesling and Speaker Cameron Sexton, and tell them to keep this law as it is and allow one person to stay with a patient in the hospital.
Governor Bill Lee: Email, (615) 741-2001
Senator Ken Yager: Email, www.kenyager.com ; Phone (615) 741-1449
Speaker Cameron Sexton: Email Phone (615) 741-2343
(1) https://legiscan.com/TN/text/HB9077/2021; 14-6-104,CH 5, Sec 12b)