IU Health president says man was no longer contagious

BLOOMINGTON — A local lawyer says a man she’s known for decades was treated inappropriately when he was released from IU Health Bloomington Hospital on Sunday after being treated there for COVID-19.

Kitty Liell says the 59-year-old Owen County man tested positive for coronavirus more than a week ago and was admitted to the hospital for treatment. He was discharged after seven days, Liell said, because he had been fever-free for three days.

She said the man was agitated and worried when he was released, in part because he believed and said he had been told by medical officials that 14 days is the standard isolation time for people with the virus.

“He kept being told, ‘14 days, 14 days,’” and they make him leave after seven,” Liell said Monday afternoon. “He was unprepared and he was frightened because he thought he could still be contagious.”

IU Health President Brian Shockney confirmed the man was in isolation for seven days in accordance with CDC guidelines, and said the patient was no longer contagious when he was released.

He said patients leaving the hospital all are escorted out under a new protocol, and said the Owen County man left in a private vehicle and was advised to return for a follow-up visit this week.

Liell said the man did not want to return to Owen County because of concerns about passing on the virus. So he had nowhere to go. He eventually found a place with family, she said.

The man contacted Liell from the hospital Sunday, saying that several hospital security officers had forced him to leave the hospital against his will. Liell said a social worker or mental health professional should have been called to the scene to calm down the man.

“It seems really inhumane, that they responded to his apprehension in this way,” Liell said. “Their first response was to use force to throw him out, and that should have been their last resort.”

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