📑 The Tragic Loss of Coronavirus Patients’ Final Words

Bookmarked So Many Coronavirus Patients Don’t Get to Say Goodbye (The Atlantic)

That dying alone has been normalized, as if it were a small matter, is frightening and inhuman. The panic of the early days of the crisis could be seen as a temporary, terrible compromise. Since then, though, airlines have been bailed out to the tune of many billions of dollars, while there has been no rush to build more negative-pressure rooms, designed to circulate air out, at hospitals, which would allow for much safer visits. We still haven’t developed the infection-control protocols for visitors and built up supplies of personal protective equipment in ways that would avoid the need to completely isolate patients in the days and months ahead.

Even without all the wisdom of the ages, it takes a special kind of inattention to human suffering to not notice how unfortunate this is, that people have been left to face death alone. Some have come to fear dying alone more than the coronavirus itself.

Zeynep Tufekci reflects on dying and how many are currently being forced to say goodbye via video or not at all. Tracing death through history, she talks about the importance of the last words. This leads to her own experience of last conversation and its place within the grieving process. With so much being spent on saving other areas of society, such as bailing out airlines, when are they going to do something to allow people to properly say goodbye?

Personally speaking, I found it hard enough watching my mother pass. However, I am not sure how I would have been without those opportunities and last words. It is an important issue, especially if a vaccine is not found.

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