Hospitals limiting visits to newborns

Sept. 23, 2009 at 5:10 PM
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CONCORD, N.H., Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Some U.S. hospitals are anticipating the H1N1 flu epidemic by limiting visitors to newborns, the chief executive officer at one hospital says.

Immediate family more than 18 years old are still welcome to visit newborns, but children are being kept away from them and pregnant women, ABC News reported Wednesday.

"You could argue that this is a preponderance of caution, but that's OK," said Mike Green, the top executive at New Hampshire's Concord Hospital. "Obviously, this was a reluctant decision on our part, but something the clinicians felt was important that we (try) to provide the safest environment possible."

St. Luke's Hospital in Sioux City, Iowa, is restricting visitors under 14 to the neo-natal intensive care unit, but not to the regular neo-natal unit, a spokeswoman said. In addition, every visitor to the NIC unit is screened for the flu.

Dr. Ashlesha Dayal, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City said the birth of a child should be family friendly, but for the health of the mother and baby, visits should be restricted now.

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