Update: After family voices concerns, hospital changes stance and allows them to visit dying father

Tom Heimbach of Brampton, North Dakota
Tom Heimbach of Brampton, North Dakota(KVLY)
Published: May. 15, 2020 at 6:16 PM CDT
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(Update 8:30 p.m.) After speaking publicly, a family will now be able to see their dying father after a Sioux Falls hospital changed its stance.

Chad Heimbuch said the Select Medical will allow a family member twice a week for two hours to visit their 70-year-old father Tom.

According to Chad, hospital staff started receiving numerous phone calls and they saw a video the family made.

Chad's oldest sister is going to visit their father on Monday.

Visitors were prohibited from visiting due to the coronavirus pandemic.


(Original) - A southeastern North Dakota family is pleading for a Sioux Falls hospital to allow them to see their 70-year-old father.

The family of Tom Heimbuch said he’s slowly dying after undergoing heart surgery.

“Nobody really had an answer to what happened. Did he have a stroke during the procedure? Did he have a stroke later?” his son Chad Heimbuch of Oakes said.

His father had a quintuple bypass surgery on March 30. Although the procedure was risky, the family said they were hopeful he’d make it out okay.

For the first few days, he was doing well but somewhere along the way his condition spiraled downhill.

Chad operates his family’s potato farm. He said it’s inhumane that the hospital won’t allow the family to see their father.

The last time any family member saw him was two weeks ago.

“We are all connected. I mean, everybody needs somebody. And to just be in there with nobody that you know, and no moral support, it's tough,” Chad said.

Tom Heimbuch, who's from Brampton, is on a tracheostomy ventilator and Chad said they don’t know if he’s had COVID-19. It’s been hard getting any information from doctors.

“We don't know if he's been tested or not. Nobody's ever said if he has. We never asked,” Chad said.

Put plainly, they don’t understand how his condition got the way it is.

“Just lack of communication, and a bunch of empty promises, and contradicting information,” Chad said.

Select Medical, a company headquartered in Pennsylvania, owns the hospital where Heimbuch is being treated.

In a statement, Select Medical said it is currently under a no visitor policy due to the pandemic.

Moreover, it has conducted video conferences between families and patients.

Still, for the Heimbuch family, they said that isn’t enough.

Select Medical also stated it will continue to monitor the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines, and South Dakota’s COVID-19 case count as a guide on whether to change its visitation policy.