By Corinne Murdock |
On Monday, the Arizona Senate passed the “Glenn Martin Act” unanimously requiring hospitals to allow daily, in-person family visitation. Only the Arizona State Hospital will be exempt from this bill, HB2633.
The bill now heads to the governor for final approval.
State Representative Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott Valley) explained during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in February that the wife of the bill’s namesake, Glenn Martin, was unable to visit or serve as a patient advocate for her husband while he lay dying in the hospital. The Martins were married 38 years. Nguyen read a letter from Martin’s wife.
“The reality is, a complete stranger was the one who got to hold Glenn’s hand to comfort him, and to sit next to him as he said his final, dying words. This should have been me,” read the letter. “How would you feel if your spouse or child was left to take their final breath without you there to kiss them gently and ensure them [of] how much they were loved?”
In a tweet announcing the Senate’s passage of the bill, Nguyen reiterated the message of the letter from Martin’s wife.
“No one should die alone,” asserted Nguyen.
Last year, Nguyen sponsored a similar bill on hospital visitation policies, HB2575, to ensure that terminal patients have a right to have clergy visitation — even during a pandemic. Governor Doug Ducey signed that bill into law last May.
As AZ Free News reported earlier this year, Arizonans testified in favor of a similar clergy and visitation rights bill from State Senator Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix): SB1514. That bill was passed in the Senate but never made it to the House floor. Those Arizonans in support of SB1514 recounted their own experiences with hospitals preventing them from visiting their loved ones due to COVID-19 policies.
In addition to their inability to visit their sick and dying loved ones, the families explained that the policies rendered them unable to serve as health care advocates to their loved ones — similar to what Glenn Martin’s wife described.