It’s not uncommon for dialysis patients to bring items from home to comfort them during their treatments. It is, however, considered unusual by many, for a hospital to turn an item away that’s covered with the image of the President of the United States.
59-year-old Nelson Gibson, from Port St. Lucie, Florida, has received national attention over his battle to bring a cardboard cutout of President Trump with him to a local hospital where he receives dialysis 3 times per week. Gibson claims the cardboard cutout of Trump provides him with moral support while undergoing the difficult process.
Gil Smart of TC Palm traveled to Port St. Lucie to meet with Gibson to get his side of the story, and here’s what he discovered:
Gracious in person, he described himself as a former stay-at-home dad with kidney problems brought on by high blood pressure and diabetes. Three times a week, he needs to undergo dialysis, which can take more than three hours at a time.
Put it this way: Here’s a guy who knows which side of the fence he’s on.
As such, he said, thinking about Trump makes him happy. Chills him out. So he’d begun taking pictures of Trump with him to his dialysis appointments at Fresenius Kidney Care in Port St. Lucie — first an 8×10 portrait, then a slightly larger cardboard cutout of Gibson and his hero, photoshopped by Gibson’s son, Eric.
Eric then gave his dad a full-sized cutout of a grinning, thumb’s-up Trump. Nelson took it to a dialysis appointment earlier this month, where he said the staff laughed and took selfies with it.
But next time he showed up with the cutout, he said, it was a different story.
“I felt I needed it for moral support,” said Gibson. But a social worker said it was too big and “too much,” he said.
“I was shocked,” said Gibson, who left without his treatment.
His son, Eric, was furious and called the kidney center, demanding an explanation. Eric said he was told the cutout was a safety concern — someone might trip over it — and caregivers worried it could be contaminated with blood or other materials and become a biohazard.
Gibson said he’s been inundated with support since his story hit the headlines. On Tuesday, half a dozen members of the group “Bikers for 45” roared up on motorcycles to drop off Trump swag and urge Gibson to keep up the fight.
“I bet if it was a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders they wouldn’t complain,” said George “The Godfather” Colella, a Spring Hill resident and the group’s national president.
What do you think? Do you believe the hospital is punishing Gibson because they disagree with his politics? Tell us what you think about their decision in the comment section below.