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IU Health Says COVID-19 Patient Removed From Hospital Not A Risk To Others

The sign for IU Health Bloomington Hospital.

(George Hale, WFIU/WTIU News)

Security officers on Sunday removed an IU Health Bloomington Hospital patient diagnosed with COVID-19 who was refusing to leave over fears he might still be contagious.

Bloomington attorney Katharine Liell said Monday that the man had been fever-free for three days and had been in the hospital for a week.

But the man, who Liell did not identify, wasn’t sure if he was still contagious.

And health officials are telling people who aren’t tested for COVID-19 but have symptoms of the infection to quarantine for two weeks. The man tested positive, and Sunday marked only three days since his fever broke, Liell says.

“Is it 14 days or is it three days?” Liell says. “He was scared and didn’t know who to turn to. Rather than respond with compassion, the hospital resorted to force.”

IU Health said in a statement the man was not a risk to others.

"Our patient had no symptoms for 3 days and maintained 7 days of isolation in accordance with CDC guidelines and is no longer contagious,” IU Health said in a statement.

But Liell says even if it was safe to leave, hospital staff should have called social workers to help alleviate the man’s concerns before physically removing him.

“Why isn’t the first response a compassionate response? Responding to someone’s fear and anxiety as a human being?” Liell asks.

Liell says the man was not a local resident, and he wasn’t sure where to go when hospital staff informed him that he was required to leave.

“The patient was discharged from IU Health Bloomington Hospital and left in a personal vehicle to a location agreed upon by the provider,” IU Health says. “Additionally, due to our visitor restrictions, all patients and visitors are checked in and out of the facility with escorts. Our provider instructed the patient to return to the hospital if they had any other concerns.”

A video obtained and uploaded by The Bloomingtonian, a local digital magazine, appeared to show a man being physically removed from a hospital bed.

"Do we need all the officers to come in?" a female voice asks.

"Yeah, I'm not going until I have a place to go to," a male voice responds.

The camera cuts away as people move in and the man shouts.

A second video, appearing from a male’s point of view, appears to show him standing outside. The male’s voice says six staff members “dragged me, threw me around like a rag doll.”

On Tuesday, the Indiana Department of Health updated its coronavirus numbers to show that 12 Hoosiers have died from COVID-19, up from seven a day earlier.

Its new coronavirus numbers show more than 100 new cases of COVID-19 in a day. The total state-recorded number of Hoosiers who have tested positive for the virus is now 365.

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