"At risk of dying alone"

The exterior of the University of Colorado Hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, photographed on Oct. 18, 2019. The hospital is the flagship of the UCHealth system. Doctors there say they’ve learned how to better treat coronavirus patients in the two months since the disease was first confirmed to be in Colorado.

Steve Reiter picked up gyros and took his teenage boys to eat dinner earlier this month in a hospital parking lot, where they could look upward to try to spot their mom.

In her room several stories above, Elizabeth Reiter and her nurse flickered the lights so her family could spot her. When she walked to her window to wave at her boys, they could barely make out her silhouette.

It was the closest they got to her in 21 days. Elizabeth, who had autoimmune issues and heart problems for years, was at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora for three weeks with severe infections in her lungs and blood. Her family was not allowed to see her because the hospital, like many during the coronavirus pandemic, has enacted a strict no-visitor policy to stop the spread of the virus that has infected more than 22,000 Coloradans.

No matter how many times Reiter asked to visit Elizabeth, even when he tested negative for the virus and when he told them he had never seen his wife of 19 years so depressed, and even on Mother’s Day, he was denied. Hospital officials would not make an exception.

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