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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.
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Corresponding Author: Ryan M. Antiel, MD, MSME, Division of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, One Children’s Place, St Louis, MO 63110 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published Online: May 21, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.8594
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
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