NEW ORLEANS — The pictures tell the story.
The family of Trichelle McDaniel crowds around her as she emerges from Touro Infirmary. They are overcome with emotion at seeing a loved one they weren’t sure they would ever see again. Ms. McDaniel spent 72 days in the hospital battling COVID-19. It’s a battle few thought she could win. Hospital staff say she came close to death more than once, but here she was, walking out on her own power, surrounded by those who love her dearly. Even the emotional hospital staff crowded around, soaking in the rejoicing of this moving reunion.
It’s a scene everyone could understand, and in another time, would be described only as joyous.
But these are different times, and those seeing the pictures on social media were quick to point out the lack of social distancing, quick to point out a crowd numbering more than 100 has gathered in spite of calls from political leaders and health experts that a scene like this is exactly the kind of event that can easily spread the same virus Ms. McDaniel valiantly defeated.
It shows how difficult life is in the era of coronavirus. People seek the company of other people. Families show love and affection with hugs and kisses, friends greet each other with a handshake. And a hospital anxious to celebrate a triumph of a favorite patient and recognize the work of a dedicated staff finds itself in an uncomfortable position. In a statement they point out masks were given out to the family of Ms. McDaniel and everyone was asked to follow the CDC’s social distancing guidelines.
The pictures tell a different story.
But they do frame a conundrum. At a time when compassion and concern are needed most, the outward displays of them have to be held in check.
Touro Infirmary issued the following statement:
Today we celebrated a monumental occasion for our hospital, our patients and our community. After 72 days in the hospital, Ms. McDaniel became a beloved patient and the numerous men and women who cared for her came out to celebrate this milestone, all wearing appropriate hospital-issued masks. All of our healthcare heroes are temperature checked, screened for symptoms and masked daily to ensure their health and safety as well as the health and safety of our patients. Overcome with emotion at the sight of Ms. McDaniel finally holding her newborn son for the first time, our caregivers and Ms. McDaniel’s family surrounded her to witness the moment. Everyone present at the celebration was issued masks and asked to maintain social distance in accordance with CDC guidelines.