LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. (WGN) — The family of a 91-year-old who passed away more or less alone in the hospital while battling COVID-19 are hoping medical centers will revise some “no visitor” policies. Bob McGinnis passed away about two weeks ago inside Advocate Condell Hospital in Libertyville, Illinois. His family couldn’t say enough good things about the staff, but they’ve written to the board asking that their “no visitor” policy be revised.
“I just miss my dad so much,” Sharon McNally said. McNally was just 11 when she lost her mother to cancer. “My dad became mom and dad to all four of us,” she said.
He then became a grandfather to nine, including Kellie Sheridan.
“He’s everything to our family and he should have been surrounded by people he loved,” Sheridan said.
The 91-year-old jokester was going strong, until right before Christmas. McNally ended up taking McGinnis to the ER at Advocate Condell Hospital, where he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and pneumonia.
He never made it back home, passing away on Jan. 7. While McGinnis was in the hospital, family said they were not able to see him — with the exception of one short visit granted to McNally days before he died.
“He was asking why he was being left there, asking when people were coming to see him and when he could leave,” McNally said.
The family wants hospitals to take another look at current policies preventing loved ones from spending time with COVID-19 patients.
“If the policy is to stop the spread of COVID-19 then it’s failing because COVID-19 is everywhere,” she said.
While they are very grateful for the staff who cared for him, the pain lingers for the family that McGinnis took his last breath alone.
Advocate Condell Medical Center released the following statement.
“Along with many hospital systems in Illinois and across the country, we have visitor guidelines in place to keep our patients and team members safe and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Our care team goes to extraordinary lengths and uses technology to help keep patients connected with their loved ones when in-person visits aren’t possible.”