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In this opinion piece, the author reflects on the isolation and lack of social contact experienced by patients during the COVID-19 epidemic. He feels that the epidemic has starkly laid out the isolation, and consequent lack of love and caring from loved ones, that are a feature of modern medicine.
He argues that these human elements are critical for the proper care of the patient and, once the current restrictions are lifted, medical professionals should focus on restoring as much as possible love and connection for patients as a critical aspect of their care.
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
Last week I faced the task of telling brand-new parents that their 2-lb premature son needed emergency surgery. The conversation was all the more difficult because, surgery or no surgery, odds were he would die. They agreed to the procedure with one request: that we allow his grandparents and uncles the chance to meet him first. They didn’t want their son to die alone.
Ordinarily, I could facilitate such a reasonable request. Even in normal times, the hospital isolates patients from home, family, and community, so this seemed like a small sliver of grace. Yet even this was now precluded; in response to the ongoing pandemic, our hospital has instituted a necessarily stringent visitor policy.