Vignette 3.

Compassion in end-of-life care delivery

An 82-year-old man was admitted via the emergency department with shortness of breath, chest pain and cough. He was seen rapidly by the respiratory consultant. The patient had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with limited exercise tolerance. A diagnosis of likely COVID-19 with possible superadded bacterial infection and probable element of heart failure was made. Following well-documented discussions with the patient, it was agreed that the patient was probably in the last days of life and that he would not be a candidate for invasive ventilation. There was rapid input from palliative care and the patient was given pre-emptive medication as needed.
Due to the high incidence of COVID-19, his family did not wish to visit. However, the foundation year-2 doctor and nursing staff took turns to sit with the patient and read messages that the family had sent. It should be recognised that during the height of the pandemic, staff went above and beyond to help comfort patients in lieu of family.