JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 70-year-old great-grandmother was arrested Monday after she refused to leave her daughter’s bedside at UF Health North after visitation hours ended, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Lynn Savage is charged with trespassing, a misdemeanor.
Savage told News4Jax that she did not want to leave the bedside of her critically ill daughter.
“I just wanted to stay with my daughter because I didn’t know if she was going to make it through the night,” Savage said.
Savage said her 45-year-old daughter had to undergo a delicate surgery to replace a large piece of her skull that had collapsed into her brain. Savage said her daughter, who is nonverbal, was fighting sedation after surgery. She said her daughter’s doctor asked her to be there as a familiar face to keep her calm.
“I was there from 6:30 in the morning until 7 at night because they were unable to control her,” Savage said.
Savage said that at 7 p.m., a nurse told her “that visiting hours were over at 7 due to COVID rules.”
“But I had already been there since 6:30 in the morning and it didn’t matter. I don’t know why COVID would become an issue at 7 p.m. every night when it’s not an issue prior to that,” Savage continued.
Savage said that she realizes hospitals have rules, but “I asked the charge nurse if she would call someone to make an exception that I could stay because of her condition and because they needed me to keep her calm. The charge nurse refused to do that.”
UF Health Jacksonville’s website shows visitation hours at UF Health North are from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
According to an arrest report, police were called after hospital security spent a couple of hours pleading for Savage to leave. The report states an officer placed her under arrest and escorted her outside the hospital located on Max Leggett Parkway before pleading for her to leave and return in the morning when visitation opened at 9 a.m.
“The sheriff’s office and the security personnel at the hospital were both very kind. They both tried to talk me out of being arrested, to just go home,” Savage said. “But my daughter is dying, and I don’t want to go home.”
Savage was taken to the Duval County jail on a misdemeanor charge of trespassing and has since been released.
The arrest report states Savage “understood completely why the police were called” and “was cooperate” with the officer. Savage is a retired Stark County, Ohio, sheriff’s deputy who served 20 years on the force.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson weighed in on her arrest from a law enforcement perspective.
“She, being prior law enforcement, understood how it works, and she understood that if she did not obey the rules and if law enforcement officers were called, they have to do their jobs, and that’s what they did,” Jefferson said.
Savage’s daughter was still in critical condition as of Friday.
Savage cannot be by her side because the “trespass is good for one year,” according to the arrest report.
UF Health issued the following statement:
“Due to federal HIPAA privacy laws, we cannot comment on inquiries about specific patients. However, UF Health Jacksonville is dedicated to the well-being and safety of everyone who visits our facilities, especially patients and their families. Like health care organizations throughout the country, we have put policies in place to protect everyone from the COVID-19 virus, including patients, visitors and staff. Information about visitation limitations are placed in areas visible to those entering our facilities.”