Parents are outraged because they say they’re being restricted from accompanying their sick children to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Wednesday because first lady Michelle Obama is visiting – and security measures prohibit both parents from escorting the little patients to medical appointments.
A woman named Angie Rouse Green posted the following message to Facebook Tuesday:
“RANT: I am LIVID!!!!!! I just got a phone call from a St Jude mom whose son is battling a brain tumor. … Tomorrow, this little boy has his MRI. The results come after. His mom was told that she cannot bring her husband with her to get the MRI results!
“Why you ask?? Well, because the first lady and her entourage will be in the hospital tomorrow for, I assume, a photo shoot and Secret Service has pretty much shut down to bare necessity our hospital. Only one person allowed per patient, no social media in hospital, no photos in hospital, cars will be towed in garage, more than one person with patient will be turned away at the gate by Secret Service!”
She added, “People, this is a children’s cancer hospital! Now a mother may have to receive possible horrible MRI results alone without the child’s father! Really?! Someone needs to think about the children before their care is compromised for the sake of publicity!”
St. Jude, a hospital that specializes in treating childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases, announced Michelle Obama’s Wednesday visit with patients and their families.
“She will then take a tour of the hospital,” the website stated. “The first lady will hear stories from families like the Vickie and Chelsea Clark. Vickie and her 13-year-old daughter came to St. Jude after Chelsea was diagnosed with a rare cancer in 2012 and relapsed this summer.”
In reaction to the one-parent policy, another woman posted on Facebook, “I cannot thank a process that keeps a mother and father from both being with their child today as they receive the results of their child’s illness. Only one parent per child is ALLOWED to be in the hospital today. Because the first lady is coming. … That’s what I’m talking about.”
Sally Coley Leger wrote, “It’s a really sorry day when they kick parents out so this lady can come. A child could die today without his/her parents around because the first lady doesn’t want both parents/family with their loved ones. If you can’t come and let things be normal, then do those babies an even bigger favor and stay home!”
A woman who uses the Twitter handle “Heterosexual Woman” tweeted, “Oh you no idea how mad these patients’ families are! Some have sign[s] saying GO HOME SO MY CHILD GETS TREATMENT TODAY.”
WND contacted St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to ask about the facility’s policy and security measures put in place for the first lady’s visit.
Kelly Schulz, vice president of communications for St. Jude’s, told WND, “What we’ve said is, if you don’t have an appointment today, please don’t come to the campus. We’ve asked people, if they did have an appointment, to bring one parent. But we’ve also said if you have a special circumstance – for example, a single mother who may have other children or some other special circumstance – absolutely, contact your nurse and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.”
Asked about the boy mentioned in Facebook posts who is purportedly battling a brain tumor, she replied, “I’m aware of that. We’ve already taken care of that family.”
WND asked, “Will both parents be allowed to go with the boy?”
“I think they have,” she said. “I’m not at liberty to talk about what’s going to happen with the patients, but I know that the nurses are making circumstances for families that need it.”
Schulz proceeded to explain how St. Jude’s operates.
“It’s different from any other hospital,” she said. “We have very few inpatient patients here. Most of our patients live on our campus or around our campus … We pay for their treatment and their housing and their food and their travel and everything. So most of our patients are coming into the campus, going into their different appointments throughout the hospital throughout the day and then they’re leaving. They’re not sleeping in a hotel. So it’s not a traditional hospital in that sense.”
Schulz said the security measures are not meant to inconvenience patients and their families.
“We have asked for people not to come to the campus if they don’t have to come to the campus,” she said. “Every day we take care of our patients, and today we’re going above and beyond to make sure that no one is inconvenienced.
“The reality is, when the first lady comes to visit, you have Secret Service and you have security on the campus, so it’s not a normal day.”