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COVID-19 Communication—The Need for Humanity, Empathy, and Grace

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

On Sunday, November 8, my 69-year-old mother was taken to the emergency department of her local hospital after fainting. She tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) 3 days prior and was feeling quite ill. Following her admission, she gave me one job—to send daily updates about her condition to a group of friends and family members. She felt that I could translate the oft-complicated medical information into digestible bits and contextualize this for the myriad recipients. With her request, I became the family’s sole source of information, a mini chief medical information officer, sending out information to about 22 people. My mother’s instructions were clear: send twice-a-day updates on her condition.

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CME Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships. If applicable, all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.

Article Information

Corresponding Author: Lisa M. Meeks, PhD, University of Michigan, Department of Family Medicine, 1018 Fuller St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 1213 (meeksli@med.umich.edu).

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Additional Contributions: I thank my colleagues and friends who provided valuable support and medical knowledge during this time: Elizabeth Viglianti, MD, MPH, MSc; Steven Gay, MD, MS; and Caroline Richardson, MD, University of Michigan Medical School; Christopher Moreland, MD, MPH, Dell School of Medicine, University of Texas at Austin; Rahul Patwari, MD, Rush Medical College; and Gilles Pinault, MD, and Lina Mehta, MD, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. I thank especially the physicians and ICU nurses at Viera Hospital in Viera, Florida, and the many frontline workers who care for and hold many hands of patients across the world.

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