coronavirus pandemic

Hospitalized Alone: Realities of Life, Death During a Pandemic

NBCUniversal, Inc.

In the age of COVID-19 our ability to say goodbye and mourn lost loved ones has, in many cases, been forced to change.

And it’s not just those who have contracted the virus and their families who are being impacted, but countless others who found themselves caught up in measures to stop its spread.

“Probably the hardest thing to deal with, is I can’t see my mother," Donnie Greenlee said.

Greenlee’s mother was hospitalized for cancer surgery in the weeks before COVID-19 became a pandemic and swept across North Texas. As cases multiplied by the day, Greenlee found his access limited to his mother in order to protect hospital staff and patients from the virus. Simultaneously, her condition began to deteriorate, unrelated to COVID-19, and on Easter morning, with a handful of people by her side she passed away.

“We had to be gloved up, gowned up, shield up, you know the whole nine-yards,” Greenlee said.

The experience was heartbreaking and made even worse when they learned her funeral service would be limited to ten people. Now, Greenlee hopes families considering surgeries that could possibly be put off understand the implications if something goes wrong.

“In this day and age, I would say if you can put off for a little while, avoid it, it might not be a bad idea,” he said.

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