Texas dad helps change Children's Hospital COVID visitation policy


A Lumberton dad helped convince Texas Children's Hospital in Houston to allow two visitors per Covid-19 patient.

Kevin Swearning's 16 year old daughter Charlee is so ill she's been taken off a ventilator and placed on an ECMO machine that pumps blood outside her body, allowing her heart and lungs to rest. To make matters worse, Charlee has a genetic mutation, Rett Syndrome, which affects brain development.

Charlee's mom has been by her side since the girl was admitted a week ago. Kevin spent her first night in the hospital sleeping in his truck in the hospital's parking garage because he believed he would soon be allowed to see her. After that, he lobbied his congressman and state representative.  "I did like a little one man protest. I went to the rooftop of the building adjacent to this one and put a note on the bed of my truck telling them how much I love them. The only thing they could see was the top of the parking garage."

Now the hospital has changed it's rules.  It will allow two visitors per Covid-19 patient, one at a time.   "Before that, it was just her.  Now we can substitute out every 72 hours.  That will give mom a break if I can ever pull her away from here, which is going to be hard to do."

He says "the outpouring from all the people not just in Texas but in the United States, who have called and sent me messages, for everything I've done for them when I was just trying to see my own daughter has been overwhelming.  I'm glad I could help other people along the way."