Editor’s Note: The following was written under a pseudonym for fear of reprisals against the author’s ailing mother.
I write the following to share my deplorable experiences at Kaweah Delta Medical Center, a hospital in Visalia, Calif., and because I’m convinced most Americans have no clue of the fascistic, cruel, and inhumane policies still being enacted in the name of “COVID-19.”
My elderly mother is and has been immensely sick for quite some time. She is also suffering from dementia, especially when she gets hospitalized. That said, I am intentionally being vague concerning her condition, as I wouldn’t want the hospital to figure out who she is and possibly “reprimand” her due to this article. Yes, I think some of the workers there are actually capable of that. On the other hand, I’m not overly concerned that they’ll be able to identify me. All one needs to do is look at the terrible reviews that hospital gets, most of them from people who had the very same experiences I’m about to relate, to realize that these incidents are a dime a dozen.
About a month back, she was taken to the emergency room at Kaweah, in critical condition. I have two siblings, a brother and a sister. None of us are vaccinated. My brother lives in the same city, Visalia, but was out of town. My sister lives five hours from Visalia, and I live three hours away. My sister was first to arrive.
Once at Kaweah, she was asked either to show a vaccine card or a negative COVID test. She had neither. So, and despite my mother’s critical condition, she was denied entry and told to go take a test. As she’s not too familiar with Visalia, she asked where she could take a test and was given a paper that lists several local places. She called them, one by one. Each went to a voicemail that said, and to paraphrase, “Due to volume, we are not offering any more COVID tests at this time.” (Later on, I also tried those numbers and got the same result.)
So my sister went to my mother’s home and, in a very frustrated manner, notified me of what was going on. Before driving to Kaweah, and because I too am not vaccinated, I called first to find out what, exactly, I would need to show. The nurse who answered said I’d need to show a negative test from any testing site; a printout would do. The only thing she stressed is that home tests would not be admissible (unless taken before the hospital entry person). So I took one at Color Genomics, a recognized testing site near me. Then I drove to the hospital. Once there, I showed the woman at the front my “papers.” She told me to wait and went to another room. She presently emerged and told me, “I’m sorry, but this test does not seem to be from a legitimate site and we cannot let you in.”
At this point, I basically lost it and began to yell at the top of my voice. Think about it. Your mother is in critical condition, is confused, and doesn’t even know where she is or what is going on; since being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, none of her children had been able to talk to her (whenever we’d call, they’d put us on hold and the line would disconnect, or else they’d tell us she’s having a procedure done or is asleep). My sister and I did the right thing, driving to the hospital—and I being warned by my sister, made sure to get tested—and still they denied us the chance to see our critically sick mother.
Due to my yelling, security was called, and before long I was surrounded by 4-5 armed security guards, most of them with their hands on their real or taser guns. They each took turns examining my test results—my “papers”—and saying (to paraphrase), “Yes, this isn’t good enough,” while I continued hollering, not giving a damn who heard me—and in fact hoping everyone heard me. I, of course, made it a point to take pictures and a video of this “encounter.” One of the guards, the only female there (pictured), was especially rude from the start and definitely had a chip on her shoulder.
It wasn’t long before some higher-up or administrator came to see what all the ruckus was about. He looked at my test results, shook his head in a puzzled way, and asked the main guard what was wrong with it. They spoke to the side and a minute later, I was finally granted entry, with apologies from the higher-up.
To be clear, the point that most irked me is that I called and spoke to a nurse, asking what kind of papers I’d need. All she told me is that I needed to go to a testing site—any testing site—as opposed to showing up with some home test, and bring some printout, all of which I did. And I repeatedly made this point to the guards, even giving them her name, and they still would not relent, saying that I had to get a test from a “well-recognized place, like Walgreens,” etc. Their robotic response to all my protests was the same: “It’s hospital policy…”
My mother was a complete mess when I finally got to see her and started crying, not knowing where she was or why she was there.
This was a perfect example of not seeing the forest for the trees. All these hospital workers claim to be helping the sick, yet in this case, it is clear that they were harming them—doubly ironical, in the name of “helping them against COVID.”
My mother was eventually released, only to be checked in again recently, again, in very critical condition. Both my sister and I were away, but luckily my brother, who lives in Visalia, immediately went to see her. And guess what? Déjà vu all over again! Even though he is tested weekly for his job, and had a test with him from a “recognizable” place, they said it was one day too old, and prevented him from entering. When he remained in the lobby to call us, a guard approached him and said that he needed to leave, due to their “social distancing” policy. Mind you, and as my brother exclaimed, there was no one else in the entire lobby but him!
I should add that when I visited my mother last month and encountered similar experiences, not only was there no one else in the lobby but when I finally got to see her, there were no other visitors but myself—so hard has Kaweah made it for people to visit their hospitalized loved ones.
And so, that’s where we are today. Our mother is in the hospital (with what, exactly, is hard to say, as the English of the people calling us from the hospital is clearly their second language) and no one has been able to see her. I just bought a home test kit which I’ll be taking with me and using in front of the hospital entry person later today, in the hopes that that suffices.
Kaweah also, I should add, has another nonsensical policy. Even if all potential visitors are vaccinated and show negative tests, patients could only receive one visitor per day. So, at one point, when all of us had the proper “papers” last month, if one of us saw our mother, the rest of us could not see her on that same day.
For the record, there are certainly good doctors and workers at that hospital, and I don’t mean to paint with too broad of a brush. In this case, however, the wannabe tyrants and people on power trips are giving the entire hospital a bad name.
The irony of all this is that Visalia (in Tulare County) is considered to be one of those rare “Red” cities in California. It was one of the first to drop or at least ignore the mask mandate, not ask for vaccine cards, etc. But once you enter Kaweah Delta, it’s like you’ve entered a time warp back to March 2020: mask mandates, social distancing, and as seen, beyond reasonable and contradictory testing requirements—all of which do nothing but create more misery for those sick and dying and their loved ones desperately trying to be with them.
A final observation. As my experiences show, getting irate and showing it, works. The only reason they let me in is because I was causing a scandal. Perhaps if more of us act this way—instead of always sheepishly going along with and therefore emboldening their tyrannical mandates—perhaps more of them will buckle, will realize that it’s their behavior that is wrong.