You probably have been watching a lot of TV lately — especially the news. The briefings, the images of healthcare workers in protective gear, and the escalating run of numbers all seem too much to absorb.
If you are sheltering in place and living in a household free of COVID-19, you might sense an enormous disconnect between your current work life inconvenience versus the enormous suffering and heroic sacrifices by others as reported in the media. Sooner or later, something will occur that alters your perspective of this crisis and elevates your personal awareness of how we are all connected as a result of this pandemic.
For the past three weeks I have stayed at home. Other than a handful of very brief and socially-distanced errands, I remained secure at home waiting for this crisis to abate. That flawed sense of security was disrupted by two personal experiences that drew me into the pandemic.
The first incident began when a colleague informed me that a major teaching hospital had launched its COVID-19 DNR policy. DNR is an abbreviation for “Do Not Resuscitate.” This doomsday policy stipulated that adults over 75 diagnosed with COVID-19 severe illness (viral pneumonia/adult respiratory distress syndrome) would not be placed on mechanical ventilators. Moreover, in the event of cardiopulmonary arrest, only chest compressions would be administered to these patients with no mouth-to-mouth ventilation.
As a physician, hearing such instructions was extremely distressing. Due to the continued attrition of resources, lifesaving care may be denied to those in serious need. This pandemic has now reached the point where rescue medical care is no longer available to all. Something clicked inside me.
The second incident began with a phone call from my son-in-law. He is an emergency medicine doctor working at an inner city teaching hospital. You can only begin to imagine the chaos in his busy clinical life while also being married and having an infant child. He apologized for revisiting a conversation we had years ago about necessary financial and legal decisions for newly married couples. Not unsurprisingly, neither had created a will, and he wanted to learn more about wills — now. They are both 34. I composed myself as best I could and shared what steps they should take. This pandemic has now reached the point where young, healthy parents were thinking about the unthinkable. A second click.
Things are now very real for me because I can emotionally relate to the sadness and misery of others. Going forward, nothing is a statistic. I’m still at home and feeling well, but somehow it feels as if everything has changed.
Stay well. Keep your social distance. Keep washing your hands. Care for others nearby who may need support. Make that connection in order to ensure that this pandemic ends as quickly as possible.
Doctor Lloyd is a licensed physician and a board-certified surgeon and pathologist. As Health Director for Transamerica Advanced Markets, he provides valuable medical expertise for Transamerica’s Wealth + HealthSMthought leadership initiative.
Transamerica Resources, Inc. is an Aegon company and is affiliated with various companies which include, but are not limited to, insurance companies and broker dealers. Transamerica Resources, Inc. does not offer insurance products or securities. The information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical, insurance, securities, tax, legal or financial advice or guidance. Please consult your personal independent advisors for answers to your specific questions.