Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Authors' diary: No visitors policy during the COVID-19 pandemic

That night was tough. A patient suspected to have COVID-19 started to deteriorate clinically. The family was informed and after long conversations with the family, while treating the patient and coordinating care, the patient was made DNR. They requested if just one person, the husband, could come to see the patient.

Unfortunately, since she was a patient under investigation, no visitors would be allowed by hospital policy. The husband asked, "Is she going to die alone?" It broke my heart. He was crying. I reassured him that I'm going to be with her. That she is not alone.

They requested that if they could talk and see the patient through Zoom. Hearing their conversations made me cry. "We haven't forgotten about you, mom. They just don't let us see you. I really hope you stay strong and come out of the hospital. I don't want you to leave us like this." Everyone said goodbyes. Later, they shared funny stories with her. "Remember that time when...?"

The patient was minimally responsive but she opened her eyes briefly every time her 80ish-year-old husband spoke. I believe she could hear them spiritually.

The pandemic is emotionally and physically draining. I hate that families don't get to see their loved ones when they need to the most. I hope we get through this soon.

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