Healthcare Activist Says Patients Aren’t Being Allowed Crucial Visitors

 

A nurse turned medical activist is accusing an Ohio Healthcare Provider of refusing to help her husband after she complained about the Hospital’s visitor policies.

Michelle Estel, says that she received a letter from Fairfield Medical Center (FMC), where her husband was receiving chemotherapy for his lymphoma stating that the hospital could no longer provide care to him since the relationship between he and the hospital was “no longer effective.”

In an interview with The Ohio Star Monday, Estel spoke about the struggle she has had in dealing with Fairfield Medical Center. Her husband, Charles Estel received the cancer diagnosis in late 2019, and upon his second round of chemo-therapy.  Mrs. Estel was told by nurses she wouldn’t be able to come with him due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Estel, who was granted medical power of attorney by her husband, said she was not allowed to attend treatments and was unable to make decisions on behalf of her husband while he received medical care. “My husband wasn’t even coherent enough to text me, and he was making medical decisions.”

Estel said that she fought with the hospital even taking it up the highest levels of hospital administration. “I told them I need to be there, I need to be there for him, I’m his medical power of attorney, I know all of his stuff, I’m a nurse, I know how to take precautions and wear all the personal protective equipment! I live in the same house and sleep in the same bed as him, we should be viewed as the same unit,” Estel said.

Frustrated with the lack of progress, Estel says she started an online petition and went to State Representative Ron Hood and State Senator Tim Schafer, both of whom spoke to the hospital on her behalf. Shortly after that Estel says her husband received a letter telling him Fairfield Medical Center would no longer provide him with care except in emergencies.

A letter obtained by The Ohio Star shows FMC stated that “at this time we do not believe that the relationship Fairfield Medical Centers and yourself is effective,” and that “other providers are needed.”

The move by FMC ends a 5 year-long medical relationship stemming back from Charles Estel’s initial diagnosis with dormant Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. He will be forced to seek healthcare with another provider and described himself as “very worried” about having to find another medical care provider while in treatment.

Michelle Estel stated that since the fight with FMC she’s gotten multiple reports from of similar experiences with hospitals across the state.  “I had people call me with complaints where they were the medical power of attorney for their parent who has Alzheimer’s who weren’t allowed into a hospital,” said Estel.

The Star spoke with a hospital administrator who said that the FMC now allows visitors, a policy they described as “off and on based on the numbers in the county.”

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Ben Kolodny is a reporter for The Ohio Star and the Star News Network. Follow Ben on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

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