Virus patients at one Israeli hospital are not dying alone

ABC News:

An Israeli hospital is offering the families of coronavirus patients the rare opportunity to say goodbye to their dying loved ones in person.

Elisheva Stern wasn’t ready to say goodbye to her ailing father, who was succumbing to the coronavirus in an Israeli hospital. But knowing countless others around the world are not given the chance to say their last farewells to sick relatives, she decided to enter the virus ward and be by her father’s bedside, even if only for a brief moment, before he died.

Stern’s father, Simha Benshai, 75, died at Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center, which offers the next of kin of dying coronavirus patients the rare opportunity to say goodbye in person.

“None of us want to say bye to the people who we love. But I’m actually happy that they gave me the opportunity to say bye to my father,” said Stern. “I was able to see him and to tell him I’m sorry and I love him.”

The practice is in contrast to many hospitals around the world that don’t allow final family visits as a precaution against spreading the highly contagious virus. That leaves patients to die alone and forces families to grieve from afar. Recognizing this peculiar tragedy wrought by the virus, Sourasky Medical Center officials opted to spare much-needed protective gear, take careful measures to ward off infection and offer grieving families a chance to say goodbye.

“The stories of patients dying alone are horrifying,” said Roni Gamzu, the hospital’s chief executive. “This is our moral duty as medical staff and as human beings. No one shall be allowed to die alone.”

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