Dying during Covid‐19

Hastings Center Report 50 (3):13-15 (2020)
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Abstract

I had been on the phone with Madeleine's mother for fifteen minutes, and she had sobbed throughout. She pleaded with me, “You won't even let our family visit her together. If you really want to help my daughter, you will let us stay with her.” Madeleine, who was twenty‐four years old, was dying of end‐stage acute myeloid leukemia and was intubated in one of our intensive care units. Her intensivist had requested a clinical ethics consultation for potentially inappropriate medical treatment—in my world of clinical ethics consultation, routine stuff. Except that, in March 2020, nothing was routine anymore. The Covid‐19 pandemic calls for creative thinking about ad hoc and post hoc bereavement efforts, and it may result in efforts to revise existing accounts of what constitutes a good death in order to accommodate patients’ and families’ experiences at the end of life during a pandemic.

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Bryanna Moore
University of Rochester

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