Sad ironies occur every now and then. Why do they feel ineluctable in health care settings?
Michael Howell is one of the BIDMC physicians who has been greatly involved in the enhancement of patient care in our ICUs. I sent him an email asking if he would review an article that IHI's Maureen Bisognano and I had written about this process. He received the note while accompanying his terminally ill grandfather to another hospital.
Here is his reply:
I am happy to review the article in the next day two. It is ironically appropriate: I am sitting in an ICU waiting room right now, excluded from visiting because it is not yet 10am. My 95 year old grandfather, who had an existing DNR/DNI order, was (presumably inadvertently) intubated and I am down in a small town in northern Alabama. It's my fourth or fifth time on this side of the ICU door. Terrifically challenging, since my dad had already gone through the difficult process of moving to comfort-focused care, and now we find my grandfather on life support against prior directives.
See the photo for the way visiting hour policies are conveyed here.
Mercifully, the funeral was recently held. We offer condolences to Michael and his family.