The husband of a cancer patient who is receiving palliative care at East Lothian Community Hospital has spoken of his anguish as nursing staff stopped him visiting her.
Bill Hudson had been allowed to make brief 20-minutes visits to see his wife Carol when she was transferred to the hospital from a hospice towards the end of February.
However, he has now been told he cannot see her, despite having invested in his own personal protective equipment (PPE).
Mrs Hudson, 55, from Gullane, has been battling cancer for six years and is receiving care for a second inoperable tumour at the hospital.
Her husband now fears the mother of two, who worked as a physiotherapist assistant at the former Roodlands Hospital in Haddington, which was replaced by the new community hospital, could now face her final weeks alone.
Earlier Mr Hudson, a production journalist, had called for testing to be made available to families of those in hospital so they could visit if they were not infected.
Now he says he is devastated that contact with his wife has been stopped completely.
He is urging health chiefs to find a way to let him visit his wife, who is also isolated from her sons.
He said: “I have appealed to those at the top of the hospital to find a way to allow next of kin visits for people like us.
“I haven’t been able to see Carol since Monday last week and when I tried to see her at the weekend the nurse came out to say it was not allowed.
“It is very worrying for all of us and distressing. Carol has her phone but sometimes she is too exhausted to sustain a conversation or the charge runs out.
“The staff at the hospital do what they can but obviously there is so much going on right now.
“We just don’t know when we will see Carol again.”
Dr Tracey Gillies, medical director at NHS Lothian, said: “We know this will be a very difficult time for the patient and their family and we would wish to make every effort to minimise any distress.
“NHS Lothian has suspended patient visiting to limit the spread of coronavirus and to protect vulnerable patients, as well as staff.
“Visiting does take place in specific circumstances, including for patients receiving end-of-life care, with arrangements assessed on individual patient needs.
“Even within these specific circumstances, however, there may be times, for important medical reasons, why visiting is temporarily not allowed.
“Unfortunately, we cannot comment on individual cases without patient consent and we would urge the family member to contact the senior charge nurse at the hospital to discuss their concerns.”
By Local Democracy Reporter Marie Sharp
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