A terminally ill woman has issued a desperate appeal to leave hospital and return home after family visits were stopped by coronavirus.
Carol Hudson, who has been battling cancer for six years, is receiving care for a second inoperable tumour at East Lothian Community Hospital in Haddington.
Husband Bill, who has not seen Carol for more than two weeks, has been calling on health chiefs to allow him to visit her and revealed the anguish she is experiencing during visiting restrictions.
This week, Carol, a 55-year-old from Gullane, made a heartbreaking call to him, pleading: “I want to come home.”
Bill had been allowed to make brief 20-minute visits to see his wife when she was transferred to the hospital from a hospice towards the end of February.
However, those visits stopped at the start of this month and he has not seen her since Monday, April 6.
Bill fears the mum-of-two, who worked as a physiotherapist assistant at the former Roodlands Hospital in Haddington, could be facing her final weeks alone.
He explained: “I hadn’t heard anything from Carol for three or four days as her phone isn’t always charged, but she must have managed to charge it on Monday and called me asking ‘when are you going to pick me up?’.
“She said ‘I want to come home’. It was just devastating and so worrying.
“All the medical equipment we had in the house to support her was returned to ensure it could be used by others while she is in hospital, now I have to work out what to do next.
“If I was just able to visit her I know it would be easier on her and me. As it is I just feel helpless.”
Carol, who has two sons, Kieran, 23, and Connor, 25, has raised hundreds of pounds for Maggie’s Centres despite her condition over the last few years.
Dr Tracey Gillies, medical director at NHS Lothian said: “We cannot comment on individual cases without patient consent, but would urge the family member to contact the senior charge nurse at the hospital to discuss their concerns.
“NHS Lothian, in line with national guidance, 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, for inpatients in our children’s services and those accompanying partners during childbirth, with arrangements assessed on individual patient needs.
“We recognise that this is a difficult time for patients and their families which is why staff across our services have been working hard to ensure that patient can still keep in touch with their loved ones through a range of interventions such mobile phones and iPads.
“While this will never replace face to face visiting, it does offer some comfort as patients are able to both hear and see their loves ones.”
Story by local democracy reporter Marie Sharp