A face mask, security check, hand sanitation, wristband scan, verbal password and four sets of locked doors; those are what separate a father from his newborn child when entering Madison Memorial Hospital.
When fathers first step into Madison Memorial Hospital and take a mandatory temperature check, they are given a face mask. From there, they are directed to the maternity ward.
To get there, these fathers must walk past the hospital’s café, likely noticing that all seating has been removed from the dining hall. Fathers then take an elevator (or stairs if they feel athletic), go through seemingly dozens of security checks and walk past countless empty rooms to find the one housing their significant other.
The occupied rooms hold a single pair of grateful parents and a newborn child or two.
There are no in-laws, there are no guests.
This sequence of events is a consequence of the preventative measures taken by Madison Hospital. These measures ensure the well-being of its patients and staff during the pandemic of COVID-19. Catherine Robinson, a new mother and BYU-Idaho graduate of 2019, recently experienced these preventative measures.
“The greatest measure taken when we had our baby was the restriction to only have one additional person through the labor and delivery experience,” Robinson said. “That was tough because we were not able to be supported by our family and friends.”
Robinson had her first child in Madison Memorial Hospital on March 24, 11 days after President Trump declared a U.S. state of emergency regarding COVID-19.
Robinson described the medical staff saying, “The nurses made us feel so comfortable and supported,” Robinson said. “The ‘dad fridge’ was emptied out for safety precautions the second day we were there, and [my husband] had to ask the nurses if he needed or wanted anything.”
Robinson is one of many new mothers that have had their children born during this pandemic. Keeping Robinson and others like her comfortable and safe has led to greater responsibilities for hospital staff.
Staff members now carry the duty of upholding new, strict safety procedures on top of their normal responsibilities. For example, all medical staff must wear masks and they ask that patients do the same.
A medical professional of Madison Memorial Hospital, who wished to remain anonymous to uphold privacy laws, said that the hardest aspect of these protocols has been turning away the friends and family of expecting mothers.
Madison Memorial Hospital only allows one guest to accompany expecting mothers. People have walked up to the hospital’s doors demanding to be let in to see their friends or family. Medical staff forced them to leave.
This is one of hospitals’ many sacrifices for the health of parents, their children and the medical professionals who serve them.
Face masks, security checks, hand sanitation, wrist band scans, verbal passwords and four sets of locked doors are used to separate a deadly virus from the people inside Madison Memorial Hospital.
These measures might seem excessive to some, but if it keeps a newborn child from being infected with COVID-19, fathers, family and friends should be grateful for them.