SANTA FE, N.M. (KOAT) — It is a story about love, isolation, loneliness and a pandemic. Many New Mexicans desperately want to touch people they love, especially those in nursing homes who are sick and dying.
Gary Hein, who lives in a care facility in Santa Fe, took part in a lawsuit where he claimed his constitutional rights were violated. A judge agreed. Here’s what happened.
Hein’s wife lives in the same facility. He is in independent living and she is in memory care. Hein would visit his wife multiple times a day, comforting and caring for her.
“I know if the tables were turned, she would be caring for me. She is the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my life,” he said.
Then, this spring, the state health orders kicked in. The couple, who has been married for more than three decades, were no longer allowed to touch each other.