Hospital Policy Keeps Family From Seeing Inmate Patients

Hospital Policy Keeps Family From Seeing Inmate Patients

By Justin Kree

NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Family members are gathering at Medical Center Hospital constantly being updated of their loved ones condition. Many of them are still shocked from Wednesday's bus and train accident.

The families were hoping to see the injured inmates in their hospital rooms but they're not being allowed. The sister of Remigio Pineda didn't want to be identified but she is frustrated with the hospital's policy.

"They haven't allowed us to see him or talk to him or anything. I'm very disappointed," Sister of Remigo Pineda, said

Jessica Gonzalez, who is the mother to Damien Rodriguez's five-year-old child, said she hasn't told her child of his Dad's condition.

"I don't want to tell him unless there is a reason to tell him. If it gets worse, then I'll sit down and have a talk with him," Gonzalez said.

Medical Center Hospital is following procedure when dealing with the four inmates that were injured in the horrific accident. 

"Our policy is a hospital policy and it's a very common policy throughout hospitals in the state," Brad Timmons, Chief of Police for the Ector County Hospital District, said.

Protecting staff and other patients is the hospital's main goal. At the same time, taking care of the inmates is also a priority. 

"We din't know the background of the inmates or prisoners so to speak. It's not our business to know their background. Our business is to take care of them," Timmons said.

Timmons says if they allow one family to see an inmate patient then they have to allow everyone.

"They can't go face to face here. Just like they can't go face to face when they are incarcerated," Timmons said.

But policy does change if the inmate is close to death.

"If it looks like they aren't doing so well or if it looks fatal then we take steps to let family in the room to spend time with their loved one," Timmons said.

The families know their loved ones aren't out of the woods yet but they're thankful they're alive.

"With the grace of God's hands, they will both be healed," Brother of Damien Rodriguez, Aaron Rodriguez, said.