Father to camp outside hospital until allowed to visit daughter in critical condition

Marvin Abbott says he'll sleep on the sidewalk until Providence Hospital allows him to visit...
Marvin Abbott says he'll sleep on the sidewalk until Providence Hospital allows him to visit his daughter.(KTUU)
Published: Sep. 11, 2020 at 6:49 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Kodiak resident Marvin Abbott slept on an Anchorage sidewalk Thursday night. Abbott said he plans to sleep in the same spot next to Providence Alaska Medical Center until either his 26-year-old daughter is released, or he is allowed to visit her inside.

Abbott’s daughter remains in critical condition after a severe asthma attack Sunday night in Kodiak that brought her on a medevac flight to Anchorage. Abbott said he knew the hospital’s COVID-19 policies wouldn’t allow him to visit her, but he made the journey anyway.

“I offered to take a COVID test. Offered to stay in the hospital and not leave. If I leave, they don’t have to let me back in, but at least allow me the chance to be with her,” he said.

Abbott is convinced his daughter, who he said is still not breathing on her own, would respond to his presence in the room.

“I really think if I was holding her hand and talking to her it would have a positive outcome,” he said.

Providence Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Bernstein said it’s been tough telling families they can’t visit their loved ones but added the policies are in place to protect people from COVID-19. Transmission rates in Anchorage are still considered very high, and other hospitals like Alaska Regional and the Alaska Native Medical Center have similar restrictions on visitors. Bernstein said Providence is trying hard to balance safety with compassion for patients and their families. He said in the near future, they may relax some of the rules, especially for patients who are critically ill.

“Right now, we do allow visitation when someone is very near the end of life but maybe we would consider severe illness where you may not be able to predict when the exact end of life is,” said Bernstein. “That may be an appropriate circumstance to allow a family to do more than just the virtual visitation.”

Bernstein said the new policies could be in place by early next week. Abbott said he may still be sleeping on the sidewalk, waiting to get in.

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