BAYSIDE, QUEENS — When St. Mary's Hospital for Children in Bayside shut its doors to visitors amid the coronavirus pandemic, it opened its doors to an unexpected new group of residents: the parents of its patients.
Twenty-two parents have spent nearly three months living inside the hospital where their children receive care for all kinds of severe injuries and medical conditions, according to a New York Times report.
They sleep on recliners in their children's rooms, eat donated meals and bond with other parents staying in the same unit of the hospital. They exercise in the hospital's fenced-in backyard and eat lunch with other parents.
“The most important thing is I am here,” one father wrote in a journal for his infant daughter, according to the Times. “I feel that it is my duty as your father to be your advocate and bedside playmate.”
If parents decide to leave, they cannot return until the visitor ban is lifted.
That's because the effects of the coronavirus could be fatal for the hospital's medically vulnerable population.
"We’re desperate to keep this bug out of our building," St. Mary's President and CEO Dr. Edwin Simpser told the Times.
So far, Simpser told the Times, not one patient has tested positive for the virus.
Read the full story in The New York Times.