- From Our Journals
Learning from Covid
Abstract: Mrs. Clark’s case was an ordinary consult in an extraordinary time. She was refusing dialysis, but the psychiatric unit had concluded that she lacked capacity for such decision‐making. The only difference between Mrs. Clark’s current hospitalization and the last two was that it was April 2020 and a virus called Covid‐19 had overtaken our hospital. As the chief of Montefiore Medical Center’s bioethics service, when I received a consult before the virus, I always saw the patient. Whether the patient had been in a vegetative state for a day or for years, it didn’t matter. I would lay my hand on a leg or an arm and observe. But Covid‐19 enforced physical boundaries between my team and our patients; I would not be able to meet Mrs. Clark. Our hospital responded to the attack on human connection by getting creative. We asked ourselves, which tools are still available to us? Answering this involved, in part, finding new ways for our team of clinical ethicists to support the clinicians caring for Mrs. Clark.