PORT SAINT LUCIE, Fla. – It takes hours, sometimes multiple times a week, for a patient to undergo dialysis. So, it's not unusual that patients going to a dialysis center for treatment bring in something to distract them. However, one Florida man says he wasn't allowed to bring what makes him feel at home – his life-size cutout of President Donald Trump.
"It's made out of cardboard," said Nelson Gibson, who suffers from kidney failure. "Giving two thumbs up, plus a big smile."
Gibson says he can take the cutout anywhere he wants, except for the one place he spends hours at.
"She said it was too much, this was okay [Nelson shows smaller cutouts], but the other one is too much. She said, 'This is not a rally,' which of course it doesn't show like it's a rally, it's just a picture," said Gibson.
For more than a year, Gibson says he's kept smaller President Trump imagery by his side during treatment at Fresenius Kidney Care in Port Saint Lucie. He says he's never had an issue.
"What I decided to do was kind of give him some things that can kind of distract his mind to remind him of a sense of home," said Eric Gibson, Nelson's son.
Eric decided to go larger-than-life and get his dad the life-size cutout. On Saturday, Nelson brought it in the kidney care center for the first time and says it was a hit, but on Tuesday, cardboard Mr. President was turned away.
"I just feel that he's done so much for kidneys and dialysis. I just feel very grateful for what he's doing," said Gibson, who says he doesn't want to return to the care center until he has a discussion with staff on why he could not bring in the cardboard cutout.
Last year, President Trump signed an executive order that included encouraging in-home dialysis. Gibson and his family said they've considered it, but it's not that simple.
"He feels that he wants the sanctity and knowledge of a true medical professional rather than having myself or another relative oversee his health," said Eric.
Gibson also said other patients at the center sing while getting dialysis, some pop bubble wrap -- everyone has what works for them. He also added that his cardboard cutout was put up against a wall and says it was not in the way.
A spokesperson for Fresenius Kidney Care in Port Saint Lucie released this statement in response to WPTV’s inquiry of the situation:
"While we cannot discuss any specific individual, we strongly support the ability of all our patients to express their views, which includes bringing reasonably-sized items into our dialysis centers that do not create safety or infection control issues, or interfere with caregivers on the treatment floor," said Brad Puffer, spokesperson for Fresenius Kidney Care.
This story was originally published by Michelle Quesada at WPTV.