Rodney Mack had been hospitalized with coronavirus for less than a week when his mother answered the phone and received the worst possible news: His organs were failing and the end was near. Those words sent her into shock — her son was 39 and otherwise healthy — but the doctor’s next question left her almost speechless, Etta Mack said in a recent interview. The question was whether she would give permission, when the time came, for her son’s caregivers to avoid extraordinary resuscitation measures out of concern for their own health, according to her account of the phone call, which matched the accounts of other relatives who were also on the line. It was one of the countless difficult conversations health care providers have had in recent months as coronavirus victims often decline rapidly, leaving their families with tough medical decisions. Etta Mack thought for a moment before answering, and even contacted her cousin who’s a respiratory therapist for advice. Then she called the doctor back and told him no. “That’s what I told him: I’m not going to stop fighting for my child, and neither are you,” she said. “I feel like my son was being treated like a guinea pig…. Read full this story
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