What Is A "Good Death" During A Pandemic?

Death, Sex & Money

By WNYC Studios

What Is A "Good Death" During A Pandemic?

Friday, 8 May

We recently got an email from a listener named Lindsay. She's a nurse who normally works in pediatric oncology, but right now is working in an adult ICU with COVID-19 patients. And even though, as she wrote to us, she's "been surrounded by death" in her regular job, she says the way her current patients are dying from COVID-19 is far from what she would call a "good death."

"You can't be in the room with them as they pass. You can't expose yourself that often," she wrote. "There is no time to know the people who slipped through your fingers—whose hair you washed, whose body you bathed, who you talk to during your shift to soothe yourself and them." She added, "It's simultaneously the most intimate and most anonymous relationship I've ever had." 

Lindsay ended her email to us with a question: "How do I as a nurse, or how do we as a healthcare community, give patients a good death during a pandemic?" 

Let us know if you have thoughts or answers for Lindsay. Our email address is deathsexmoney@wnyc.org. 

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