As an end-of-life physician, I know being with a loved one during their final moments is a deeply personal and emotional memory. This has been changed by COVID-19.
Since the onset throughout the country, patients have passed away without family members. It is inhumane, and a horror story. Knowing of this separation has kept those who are ill from going to hospital emergency rooms, whether they are sick with coronavirus or not.
A couple I cared for for decades were ill. Married for over 40 years, they didn’t know whether they had the virus. Despite low oxygen levels, they refused to go the hospital worried about separation. They survived.
Flattening the curve has been achieved. Re-opening some businesses is occurring.
Now is the time to re-open hospital doors and allow loved ones back in.
Hospitals are furloughing medical staff because census is low. Patients won’t go to the hospital not only for fear of coronavirus, but also fear of separation.
Therefore, provide personal protective equipment, educate visitors on appropriate hygiene, and screen them. But let them back in!
Let’s end this horror story and bring back humanity.
Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.