Texas ER doctor quarantines in backyard treehouse to keep family safe from COVID-19

Posted at 11:08 AM, Apr 21, 2020

An emergency room doctor in Texas is making an extreme sacrifice for those he loves — he's moving out of his home and into his kids' backyard treehouse in the hopes of not infecting his family with COVID-19.

Dr. Jason Barnes, who works in the emergency room at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi explained why he's taken up in the treehouse in a YouTube video.

"I've actually treated patients positive with the virus, and you know, trying to think about bringing that home, it's scary for us," Barnes said.

Barnes and his wife, Jenna, considered buying an RV, staying with a friend and renting a hotel room. But they decided staying in the treehouse would be his best bet.

"At first it was kind of comical," Jenna Barnes said. "Like, 'Oh, you can just live in the treehouse?' And the more I thought about it, I was like, 'Oh, that could work.'"

The couple outfitted the treehouse with all the home essentials — a bed, a bathroom, water and food — even air conditioning. Barnes has been sleeping in the treehouse for more than a week.

"It takes a little bit of getting used to sleeping on a bed made out of cedarwood," Barnes said.

The setup may not be ideal, but for now, Barnes said it's all about being close to home and his family.

"I can stay here and see my family every day," he said. "That's really why I go to work every day — so I can provide for them. I think I have everything but the hugs — and picking up the kids when they scrape their knees."

"We miss him terribly, being in the house," Jenna Barnes said. "Being able to hug him and be with him daily."

But for the family, the treehouse quarantine is worth it.

"Quarantine is serious," Barnes said. "But it's the only way we're going to beat this thing."

"It is serious, and we're doing it for a reason," Jenna Barnes said. "Isolating yourself is so important right now, and it's the only way we're going to get through this."

This story was originally published by Ashley Portillo on KRIS in Corpus Christi, Texas.