Canadian News May 29, 2020 4:26 PM EST

Terminally ill Winnipeg cancer patient denied visits from family

As with many families throughout Manitoba, Francisco-Critica has been unable to see her 80-year-old father in the hospital due to coronavirus restrictions.

Terminally ill Winnipeg cancer patient denied visits from family
Collin Jones The Post Millennial
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Cecille Francisco-Critica fears that the next she will be able to speak with her father, he will not be unable to respond, according to CBC News.

As with many families throughout Manitoba, Francisco-Critica has not been able to see her 80-year-old father Renato Francisco in the hospital due to the crackdown on COVID-19 rules.

"I'm just worried by the time they ease up restrictions, it will be too late," Francisco-Critica said.

Though Manitoba has announced the reopening of businesses, from gyms to restaurants, visitors continue to be barred from visiting the acute areas of hospitals if they do not have unique permission.

Her father has been staying in Winnipeg's Victoria Hospital for 14 days with terminal prostate cancer, where he has been receiving radiation surgery.

"The radiation is basically to help with the pain," his granddaughter Karmina Francisco said. "It doesn't make the cancer go away."

The family was told by staff at the hospital that they would only be allowed to see Francisco if he agreed to quit all treatment.

"They said before they would allow us to visit, my grandpa's condition would need to be completely deteriorating, so basically close to dying," Karmina said.

"He's not dying right away, so we aren't allowed to visit him yet," she added.

"When we talked to the doctor, we were told that he's not going to last long."

"He's really having a hard time there without his family being by his side... He gets confused a lot. We want to be able to visit and talk to him while he can still talk."

The family has made it clear that they would like for only one family member to be able to go in and check on him. Francisco had already stayed a month alone at Seven Oaks Hospital before he was moved to Victoria Hospital.

The restrictions on hospital visits have been installed for more than two months in Manitoba, though there are exceptions, which includes patients undergoing certain treatment with CancerCare Manitoba.

The province had previously stated that exceptions could be made on the hospital visit restrictions based on compassionate or end-of-life reasons, but that has not been the case in Francisco's experience.

It appears that the rules are not being applied equally, or not at all. A Winnipeg woman passed away alone in St. Boniface Hospital last month after her family was denied compassionate visits. The province is currently investigating the situation.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has reached out to hospitals and long-term care facilities to ensure that the visitor restrictions are understood and applied equally and consistently across the board.

"Every situation is unique and many of these decisions can be extremely complex and difficult for patients and their loved ones, as well as for the clinical teams and administrators at the hospitals who are tasked with following the directive," wrote a spokesperson.

"These visitor restrictions are constantly being considered and reconsidered as the COVID-19 situation unfolds across Manitoba."

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