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In the Face of Making Tough Decisions During the Covid-19 Crisis, Doctors Show Commendable Compassion

These are unprecedented times. Much like the men and women who go to battle for our country, healthcare professionals are literally on their own front lines fighting the war against the Covid-19 virus.

Painful decisions are being made by doctors around the world, overburdened and understaffed due to the rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus. The virus is debilitating countries around the world and crippling economies.

In the face of such a monumental health crisis, staff are working under extreme pressure and stress. Hospitals will not allow unauthorized individuals, including family members, in the building because of the risk of infection due to Covid-19. Activist and The Local Malibu contributor Dr. Ronda Hampton shared a heartbreaking, yet heartwarming story of how these brave doctors and nurses stood by her father’s side as he passed away unexpectedly, and without his family who were unable to be by his side.

“My father, Robert Paul Carter Sr., had been suffering from diabetes for many years.  He received dialysis three times a week for almost 20 yrs.  Surviving this many years undergoing dialysis is unheard of but together with the tenacity of my stepmother, who was always by his side, and his outstanding treatment team, he was able to live much longer than the 5 to 10 year average life expectancy for those receiving dialysis treatment.

My dad recently got an infection in one of his fingers due to complications of his diabetes which lead to his hospitalization.  The infection necessitated the amputation of his finger and from that procedure he never regained consciousness.

This story is really about the doctors, nurses and hospital staff who cared for my father during his final days.  When my stepmother was told that he had to be hospitalized she was devastated that she could not enter the hospital as she had done on so many other occasions.   She waited in the hospital parking lot for hours before she finally went home.  We communicated with him by telephone and his voice was strong though he complained about the food (as usual) and was anxious to get home.  We were all shocked when the doctors informed us that while the surgery went well, shortly after he suffered cardiac arrest.   He was on a ventilator and it did not look like he was going to pull through.  The doctors and nurses were in constant contact with us as we were not allowed to visit him.   When it looked as if my dad was not going to pull through, the nurse phoned and let us know that because we could not be with him, the staff at the ICU was by his side.  They prayed with him, sang to him, rubbed his feet and read the bible.   While it was devastating that we could not be by his side, it was so comforting to know that he was not alone.   That evening my sister and I drove out to Providence Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance, CA to pick up his belongings.  We met with Nurse Heba outside of the emergency room entrance where she gave us a plastic bag with my dads belongings.  She wanted to give a hug but could not because of social distancing, but what she did do is give us a handwritten not which read:

To the family

I am sorry for your loss.  Everybody worked so hard and I hope you find some closure knowing we were all at his side when he decided to go to Heaven.  I let him know how much his family loved him and will miss him.  I hope you are able to find some peace in the coming days.  I pray for you all.

Please stay safe and healthy,

Nurse Heba

& ICU Team.

Early the next morning I received a phone call from the surgeon, Dr. John Fleming, offering his condolences and offering to reach out to any of family members who needed to speak to him.  He left his cell phone number in case we had any further questions or if any of the family needed to speak with him.  I could hear the compassion and concern in his voice and while death is part of being a physician, the current circumstances which do not allow for families to grieve in the usual manner impacts the families as well as the medical community.   Later that day I reached out to him to let him know that the family appreciated all that he and the staff had done for my father and he responded with the following:

Thank you so much for your kind words Ronda. I wanted nothing more than to bring him back to you healthier, and it pains me immensely to not be able to do so.  He seemed like a wonderful man and the world is a lesser place without him.  He and your family will remain in my thoughts and prayers and I’m sure he knows that he is not forgotten.  All of my condolences and wishes for you to find peace and comfort.

These doctors and nurses are going beyond the call of duty by not only providing the medical care but standing in as surrogates for the family who cannot be by the side of their loved ones.  They should be commended for the work that they are doing and we must protect them from this virus by staying at home, maintaining social distance and following any guidelines that are put forth to protect all of us.  We cannot afford to have another medical professional fall ill with the virus as without them we will lose many lives.

Get them their masks, ventilators, gloves and anything they need to keep us alive and protect themselves.  Stop complaining about not being able to surf at the beach, purchase a gun or get your nails done.Today is national doctor’s day and I want to thank all those in the medical field who are caring for our loved ones.  They are putting their lives on the line for use and we must honor them today and always.As for my dad, due to social distancing guidelines, we will not be able to have a funeral service and we are fine with that as we understand the risk involved due to this pandemic.”Today on National Doctor’s Day, we would like to thank these selfless hardworking medical professionals who not only showed tremendous compassion to Mr. Carter knowing it was his final moments, but are fighting to save lives and slow the spread of this dangerous disease.

Erik Cooper

ERIK COOPER is an award winning writer and content creator.
Erik’s earlier career was as a risk management and insurance expert turned litigation consultant gaining valuable experience handling catastrophic events.

Erik's experience working historical cases like the Oklahoma City Bombing and September 11th terrorist attack, was critical to assisting the Malibu community following the Woolsey Fire disaster in 2018 and the Smoky Mountains community in 2016 following the worst wildfire in Tennessee’s history.

Erik splits his time between Los Angeles and his writer’s cabin tucked into the Great Smoky Mountains.

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