‘COVID cannot be used as an excuse:’ DeSantis proposes new Bill of Rights for Florida hospital visits

Governor says upcoming legislation would bring more protections for Floridians

Gov. Ron DeSantis during a news conference in Gainesville. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis has proposed a Bill of Rights for hospital patients after many people were not able to be visited by loved ones during the height of the COVID pandemic.

The governor on Wednesday said “COVID cannot be used as an excuse” to deny patients basic rights, specifically when it comes to who can visit them.

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“One of the rights, I think, of being a patient is that you have your loved ones present when you’re dealing with these serious medical issues,” he said during a news conference.

DeSantis hinted that more legislation could be on the way in the coming weeks, but it’s still not known what it would include. He said the measure would include protections for Floridians.

“When COVID first (started), I mean they locked all the hospitals down and, you know, initially maybe you don’t know what you’re dealing with, but what happened was this became dragged on for months and months. And you have people that are in the hospital that didn’t have access to their loved ones,” he said. “... That had huge negative consequences for so many families throughout our country.”

Lawmakers have already passed a Parents’ Bill of Rights that shields school children from things like vaccine and mask mandates.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.