by Marc R. Larochelle, M.D., M.P.H.
“Apprehensively, I dialed Mr. M. for an update. Weeks earlier, he and his wife had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. A few days before this call, Mr. M. had been discharged from the hospital, since his cough and fever were improving. Unfortunately, Ms. M. had developed worsening breathing, needed more oxygen, and was at that point being transferred to the ICU. Mr. M. picked up the phone, quiet and tearful. ‘How are you?’ I asked.
“‘Terrible, doctor,’ he replied. ‘Maria died last night.’ She had died, alone, in an ICU. Mr. M. was now mourning her loss, alone, at home. Their children and grandchildren, who live in Europe, mourned at a distance much greater than the recommended 6 feet. As similar scenes play out repeatedly, I find myself saddened and outraged by the inadequacy of our response, which failed to prevent this tragedy for Ms. M. and thousands of patients like her.
“Our conversation quickly turned to how she could protect herself at work.”
Continue reading this perspective in its entirety at the New England Journal of Medicine, click here.