Teenage son in hospital being kept from family

I wanted to share my story in hopes that it might help make a difference in reopening New Hampshire! A lot of details were left out to protect the privacy of our family and for my 14-year-old son. The last two months have been unfathomable.

My family has been separated with no tangible ending. My 14-year-old son, on March 9, was brought to Concord Hospital. He remained there for 11 days while the hospital worked to get him transferred to another facility for care. During the time he was at Concord Hospital, it was most definitely a very traumatic experience. The internal communication at the hospital was almost zero. He arrived on Monday and he wasn’t provided a toothbrush or opportunity to be cleaned up/shower for 5 days. Medication was missed and not properly dispensed often. At one point, he was given too much of a (new) medication that resulted in a ”two-day nap.” On top of everything my family was already dealing with, we were put in between two doctors who could not agree on how to move forward, and eventually it became clear there were no solutions, and the State of New Hampshire was starting to shut down. After going back-and-forth with doctors and being told that there was no way that he could be discharged without a transfer, we started to lose hope. Restrictions were tightening by the hour at the end of his stay in the hospital. I was sleeping in the emergency department parking lot in my vehicle 9 of the 11 days he was there, I was too afraid to stray too far or go home to see my other kids in fear I would be locked out of the hospital entirely. He had been kept for a 8 days (being told there was ”no option for discharge.”) Suddenly, a week later, one of the Pedi doctors decided that my son was “medically clear” and needed to be discharged. Because of our unique situation, the doctors were disagreeing. One advising that a discharge could only be done AMA (against medical advice) while the other doctor/hospital employees threatened and intimidated my family that they would notify CPS that I was refusing to pick up my child (I did not) and have them charge me with neglect/abandonment. This was all because I insisted that my son receive the care the hospital stated he required just a few days prior. After involving several different organizations, we were finally able to get some advocacy for our situation and got him the transfer (200 phone calls later) he needed. There were a bunch of terrible situations in between leaving the hospital and where he is currently receiving care also.

Now the facility he has been transferred to has advised me that I can’t visit due to restrictions from this ”pandemic.” However, the doctors, clinicians, and staff, who are working there are still allowed to go to and from home. I have requested an emergency hearing to go before a judge and I am trying to remain hopeful that the court will call and will agree with me. We were initially advised in the emergency department, he will be needing long-term treatment, so that in itself is incredibly scary. Upon reading the governor’s orders when I reviewed the exemptions, under section 4 there were more than a few that apply to this situation. I’m being told because he is at a private facility, they are able to make their own restrictions. So I’m somewhat trapped, anywhere I’ve looked for help I have basically been turned away since everything is on hold due to Covid-19. Attorneys and the court even have turned me away. I have no way of knowing if he is receiving proper care. Based on the information I get from My son (when he is able to phone home), things are really not going well. He also was supposed to be able to contact me daily and use tools like FaceTime, however that is not always being offered to him. I have gone almost 10 days at one point without hearing anything at all!

That is the extremely condensed version of the last couple of months for our family. For so many people, this will be a catastrophic loss and maybe impossible to recover from – we must repeal some of these policies!

E. Dillon
Hillsboro, NH

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