Visitation policy changes at TCH

October 5, 2009 9:49:16 AM PDT
Concern over the swine flu has prompted Texas Children's Hospital to change its visitation policy. Beginning today, the hospital is permitting only visitors over the age of 12. [SWINE FLU: Symptoms, questions and answers and more]

Aside from the age restriction, all visitors will be screened every time they visit. If they show flu symptoms, they will be asked to leave.

The hospital says the enhanced precautions are necessary to avoid the possibility of infecting already ill patients with swine flu. The disease has run rampant in recent weeks. Notices have been distributed to all patient rooms.

Some parents who were visiting Texas Children's Hospital today had mixed feelings about the new visitation policy.

"I traveled nine hours to be stuck in the lobby with your child while your other one is up seeing the doctor," said upset parent Mike Riviera.

"I spent two weeks there and I've seen a bunch of sick babies. They are already sick on their own they can't handle it," said Kristy Cavazos, the mother of newborn baby. "Just somebody who brings their kids may be irresponsible who may not wash their hands. You know, not everyone has sanitizer. They don't care to get their boogers, you can easily get swine flu."

Ben Taub Hospital and Methodist Hospital say they have no restrictions on visitors at this time, but they are monitoring the situation.

Memorial Hermann Hospital says it's turning away sick visitors. Children's Memorial is screening visitors, but doesn't have specific restrictions in place. St. Luke's Hospital is not screening visitors, but they are limiting visitation to anyone who is sick and children under 10 are not allowed to visit.

The Centers for Disease Control says more than 26 states have seen widespread swine flu activity. In our area, some schools have closed because of a high volume of swine flu cases.

Last week, state health services attributed that spread to schools re-opening and germs being passed through children. Given that, Texas Children's isn't taking any chances. They say they will keep the new visitation policy in place for the time being and likely, until after the peak of flu season.

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