Sam, a middle-aged Black cisgender male (they/them), was admitted for an organ transplant during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, visitation was heavily restricted: only compassionate exceptions were allowed for patients at the end of life, those whose care required life-altering decisions, or patients with disabilities who required additional assistance. Organ transplant recipients were considered particularly vulnerable because of immunosuppression. Virtual technologies such as smartphones and tablets were used for patients to communicate with their families, but Sam would often decline calls from their spouse, Alex. Several months went by and Sam was still in our care; they had complications of infections and ultimately experienced multisystem organ failure. After the transplant graft failed, it was decided that Sam would be moved to a unit that allowed one designated visitor. When nurses asked Alex whether they would be able to visit, Alex became defensive and began to...
Virtual Visitation and Microethical Decision-making in the Intensive Care Unit During COVID-19
Dianna Jo Copley, Georgina Morley; Virtual Visitation and Microethical Decision-making in the Intensive Care Unit During COVID-19. AACN Adv Crit Care 15 December 2021; 32 (4): 473–481. doi: https://doi.org/10.4037/aacnacc2021283
Download citation file: