The Bloomingtonian

Coronavirus patient zero forcibly removed from IU Health Bloomington after discharge Sunday; IU Health says patient not contagious according to CDC guidelines

*** Warning explicit language, and disturbing content ***
A COVID-19/Coronavirus patient says he is removed from IU Health Bloomington hospital after being discharged. (Courtesy Video/The Bloomingtonian)
An Indiana University Health Police vehicle is parked at the doors to the emergency room at IU Health Bloomington, Sunday, March 22, 2020 in Bloomington, Ind. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

This afternoon, The Bloomingtonian received a press release from Liell & McNeil Attorneys PC. It states that their client, a COVID-19/Coronavirus patient, who has been at IU Health Bloomington Hospital for 7 days, being one of the South Central Indiana area’s first confirmed positive cases at IU Health Bloomington, would be released Sunday.

The release reads, “Katharine Liell, who represents a patient who tested positive for COVID-19, confirms that the patient is being released by Bloomington Hospital after 7days. According to Liell, her client reported that the Hospital cites CDC guidelines indicating a patient who is positive for COVID-19 can be released 3 days after no fever is reported.”

The Bloomingtonian reached out to Liell by text message, who said the patient is concerned they might still be contagious, and they don’t want to infect others, but they are not local.

The Bloomingtonian reached out to IU Health for comment, and received the following reply, “Thank you for your inquiry. I’m reaching out to my team now and will get back to you as soon as possible.”

Shortly afterwards, The Bloomingtonian received message from the following from the patient’s attorney:

“The police just forcibly removed him from the hospital. Right now. Maybe up to 6 cops. He’s literally been thrown on the street,” said Liell.

Liell shared the following text message from her client, which is redacted for language but otherwise published without changes,”

“Kitty six cops forcibly grab me my back if (redacted) up they shook me around like a ragdoll grab me (redacted) took me I’m barefoot it and I got scrubs on took me to the emergency room with my was open up my car door through (sic) the bags of mine in there and said get the (redacted) out of here six cops is that some bullshit”

The Bloomingtonian later received the following statement from IU Health,” Our patient had no symptoms for 3 days and maintained 7 days of isolation in accordance with CDC guidelines and is no longer contagious. The patient was discharged from IU Health Bloomington Hospital and left in a personal vehicle to a location agreed upon by the provider. Additionally, due to our visitor restrictions, all patients and visitors are checked in and out of the facility with escorts. Our provider instructed the patient to return to the hospital if they had any other concerns.”

Earlier The Bloomingtonian had asked, “Can you please comment on what the CDC guidelines are for when people are released? And also, what the hospital’s policies are if people do not have health insurance, and may be experiencing homelessness? What’s the after care plan for people who have been hospitalized with COVID-19?”

It’s unclear from CDC recommendations how long a person is still contagious after succumbing to COVID-19/Corvonavirus infection, but the CDC recommends those wanting to go back to work, and not receiving a test, wait until three days after the last fever if experiencing symptoms.

IU Health has its own police department, but it is unclear who removed the patient. However, the Bloomington Police Department was not involved, and a representative of BPD reached out with the following, I checked our call logs and BPD was not requested nor did we respond to IU Health today regarding a COVID-19 patient refusing to leave the premises. It must have been the IU Health Police Department.”

The Monroe County Health Department released the following information over the past several days to help against infection, and spreading the virus:

“It is important that everyone plays their part to slow this pandemic:

  • Stay informed with accurate information.
  • Use social distancing and keep 6 foot between you and others
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. Use a tissue once, then throw away
  • Clean your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Don’t share household items
  • Clean all “high touch” surfaces and objects daily
  • Monitor your health
  • Stay home when sick, except to get medical care.  Call ahead before visiting your doctor.”

The Bloomingtonian will be update this story as information is received. 

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