Mary Stahl’s February column mentions Brynn and Kyle Ervin’s experience when Brynn suffered cardiac arrest a day after delivering her fourth child. I met Brynn and her family at Dr. John Eugene’s funeral last September.
He was my brother-in-law and the cardiothoracic surgeon who performed Brynn’s pulmonary thromboembolectomy, because he happened to be making hospital rounds despite having metastatic cancer and actively receiving chemotherapy.
Dr. Eugene firmly believed in open visitation policies and worked with the staff to implement an effective, caring one that would meet patients’ and family’s needs. Brynn, Kyle and their children benefited from the policy.
Ironically, when Dr. Eugene was a patient in a different hospital’s ICU, his wife — herself a nurse — and family struggled with barriers to visitation. What a contrast!
A dying surgeon, whose intervention gave life to a woman and enabled her family to support her during at a critical time, could not receive his family’s loving support when he was critically ill.
As a former ICU manager, I applaud AACN’s efforts to erase barriers. We all share responsibility for ensuring that we embrace the patient and the patient’s family.
Lana S. Anders