Could you leave a sick child in the hospital?


My 18 nephew had been attending a program in another state, under the suggestion of his father and step mother. My sister was not very happy about him being so far, over 1,000 miles away, but acquiesced as her son really wanted to go. Everything was fine until he got sick. He ended up seriously ill with some type of pneumonia in the hospital and has been sedated on a ventilator for over a week. My sister flew to be with him, as did his father and step mother. My sister's husband and younger son could not afford to go. Progress has been very slow with not a lot of answers. Today my sister was told he could be on the ventilator 4 more days, one more week or two more weeks. Financially, this is so hard for my sister and her family. Her ex-husband is rather wealthy, so while emotionally it is devestating for both of them, financially he is not hurting. Her hotel bill, transportation and all the other costs are adding up and she is at her wits end. Day after day she sits and watches her son with tubes in his mouth and nose and basically feels so useless.
She feels like she should come home to not waste more money and then go back, but emotionally, she can not push herself to do that. She doesn't know how she can go. back to work and be of any use there with her heart with her son. Her husband told her the decision is totally hers. My whole family has stepped up to help anyway we can, with money or her young son and husband here. We aren't wealthy, but we would do anything to help.
I just have no idea what to tell my sister she should do and she doesn't know what to do.


She needs to talk to the hospital staff. Let them know of her situation and see if they have solutions. She is not the first person to be in this kind of situation. My thought is, can she sleep in the hospital room? Some hospital rooms have seating that converts to a bed. Is there a Ronald McDonald House nearby (although maybe that is for families of younger or terminally ill children, I don’t know; but it’s worth looking into.) Also, could her ex-husband find room in his heart to pay toward some of her expenses?


This is an extremely difficult situation. We just spent the last nine months in the hospital and a physical rehab center with my father. We only had to travel about 40 miles, so it definitely was not as difficult for my family as it is for your sister.

One resource that we found extremely helpful was the hospital’s social workers. They provided my mom with a lot of support, were able to direct her to low cost hotel options, discounted parking, etc. They were also able to help my mom get answers from the Drs when she needed more information.

I pray God will be with your sister, your nepher and your entire family at this difficult time. I pray that He will show her exactly where she is supposed to be as her son recovers.


Many hospitals also have ‘deals’ with local hotels for reduced prices. I agree, talk to case management or social work.


Praying for the child and his family …

Prayer to Saint Raphael

Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners. I beg you, assist me in all my needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the “medicine of God,” I humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of my soul and the ills that afflict my body. I especially ask of you the favor (name your request) and the great grace of purity to prepare me to be the temple of the Holy Ghost. Amen.



I did talk to the local Ronald McDonald house but for that particular house the hospital does not have an affiliation so they can’t stay there. The social worker also mentioned an extended stay property. I called and it is $79 a night, but that rate requires and extended stay, which is hard to commit to. The social worker gave my sister a list of local hotels, but one we called didn’t have any discounts for family members of patients. I was a little disappointed in that to be honest. My sister spent close to $200 a night so far (which I think her ex husband is helping with). I feel like the social worker hadn’t been helpful in this until today when I started making calls. Perhaps she didn’t know it was an issue, but our minds weren’t really thinking about that.
There just aren’t any easy answers I guess. Not sure about staying at the hospital. No one suggested it, so I think that is out.
Thank you and God Bless for the prayers!


I will add the family to my prayers. The hospital should have some sort of social worker or ombudsman who can help with this situation. They may have resources that your sister might not know about. When my son fell and had a skull fracture, his brother and I slept on the floor and a couch in the PICU waiting room. Fortunately he was only in the PICU over one weekend and then moved to a room, and then discharged, because I sure didn’t get any sleep that whole time.

I hope your nephew’s father is helping with or paying the bill.


Is your sister Catholic or a member of some faith? Are there parish contacts? Is she perhaps a member of a confraternity or third order whose members in that area might be able to help out? My town has a network between churches, and my parish’s role is paying for motel rooms–they have a deal with the least expensive place in town, and can arrange a room with just a phone call and the bill arrives in the mail.


I know that some hospitals will allow parents to sleep in the rooms with their children but that is assuming kids that are not adults.

I don’t have a good answer for this one, but perhaps she could contact the local parish office and see if they can be of any help. You may be surprised that a parish family could offer some help.


Praise be to God my nephew opened his eyes for the first time today since being in the hospital! My sister was so happy she didn’t leave yet, she was in the room when it happened. They had to increase his sedation, because he was thrashing around too much or something like that. I am not sure what will happen next but we are praying that this is a turning point.


Praise God!!! I will pray that this is, indeed, a turning point and that he will soon be on the mend.

With regard to the “extended stay” hotel; I know that there are a couple of them in our city (they have a sofa and a kitchenette in a regular hotel room) and neither of them requires any particular length of stay. They are clean and basic, not fancy, but serve the purpose. Could there possibly be something like this in the city where the hospital is?

Here is a pretty good website re: extended stay hotels in all categories:


Pretty sure that is a good sign, even the thrashing means that he is coming out of it. Your sister must be so grateful to have been there!

Will keep praying.


My husband stays with me when I’m in the hospital. I was just at St Mary’s which is part of Mayo Clinic and not in the state I live. When I checked in they said I would have to have a private room for my husband to stay. It was still much cheaper than the hotel -and they never ended up charging me for the private room. I grew up in and out of hospitals because of a cardiac condition.

My sister was diagnosed with cancer at 19 & died at 21. Not one night did she spend in the hospital without one of my parents present except for a weekend when* I *stayed with her and I was 13 years old. Adults can stay with other adults.

People too easily acquiesce when staff imply otherwise. I think because I know it can be done I’m not afraid to insist.I stayed with my husband when his lung collapsed -this was 15 years ago. I did have one awful hospital experience where they were refusing to let my husband stay so I threatened to walk out (and I would have), they lied about my insurance not paying my bills and all kinds of nonsense. Finally was able to have a female stay with me. I was back to the same hospital less then a week later (I actually faked being better because the treatment was so bad)- I insisted on being on a different floor. New floor had no problem with my husband staying with me. Same hospital. The first experience was a nightmare and there were reasons they didn’t want family around.

No way on God’s green earth would I leave my child alone in a hospital even during sleeping hours.


I've heard it said many times (even by docs and nurses) that no matter how well-intentioned the staff or how nice the hospital, one should never let anyone they care about be alone in a hospital for longer than it takes to run home and shower.


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