Israeli hospital allowing families to bid final goodbyes to COVID-19 patients

While thousands of loved ones around the world are denied the opportunity to say final goodbyes to dying coronavirus victims, one Israeli hospital has found a way to make it a safe reality.

Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center allows next of kin to sit by the patients’ bedsides after decking them out in full protective gear, including gloves, robe, cap and mask, reported The Associated Press.

“The stories of patients dying alone are horrifying,” explained the medical center’s chief executive, Roni Gamzu. “This is our moral duty as medical staff and as human beings. No one shall be allowed to die alone.”

As America and Western European nations grapple with alarming death rates — especially Spain, which just eclipsed the 20,000 casualty mark on Friday — coronavirus in Israel has been kept in relative check with a reported tally of 13,265 cases and 164 deaths, according to Saturday data from health tracker Worldometer.

Recently, Dror Maor was able to see his dying, 81-year-old mother-in-law at the hospital one last time. Entering the room in a protective outfit, he saw Segula Yanai sedated and on a ventilator. Sitting next to her, he was able to recite a Jewish prayer and psalms.

“Despite the difficult scene, I felt my mother-in-law’s presence and I believe that she felt mine,” Maor told The AP. “It was an act of devotion that I am happy to have carried out.”

The daughter of another hospital patient, 75-year-old Simha Benshai, is grateful for her ability to have one last moment together.

“None of us want to say bye to the people who we love, but I’m actually happy that they gave me the opportunity to say bye to my father,” said Elisheva Stern. “I was able to see him and to tell him I’m sorry and I love him.”

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