Doctor Shares Elderly Patient's Heartbreaking Last Words To Her Son Before Intubation

"I always give my patients time to call their loved ones or insist on them calling someone. There is always someone [they want] to speak to."

Cover image via @timothylau_qs (Instagram) & Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

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As hospitals are filled to the brim with Malaysia recording more cases than ever, a doctor in Selangor took some time to share a few heartbreaking words an elderly COVID-19 patient told her son before intubation

"Today, a story of how I spoke to this COVID-19 patient who I was about to intubate and put to sleep," wrote Dr Timothy Lau on Instagram on Monday, 17 May, as he shared a photo of himself in full personal protective equipment.

The medical officer working at the emergency department at Serdang Hospital said he always encourages patients to talk to their loved ones before they undergo sedation and mechanical ventilation, in case they do not wake up.

"I always give my patients time to call their loved ones or insist on them calling someone," Lau wrote in the caption

"There is always someone [they want] to speak to."

He explained to SAYS that this particular patient had blood readings and X-ray findings that showed her lungs were failing to provide enough oxygen to her body to function optimally.

"However at that point, she was still able to feel relatively well – a condition we (doctors) term as 'silent hypoxemia'. I know that her condition would probably be temporary before the lungs fully give up," he said, adding that the final attempt to assist her ailing lungs was to intubate her.

"Intubation is only part of the supportive treatment that we offer. Whether or not one can recover depends on a lot of factors, such as their own physiological reserve, other diseases, severity or progression of the disease itself, and other complications as a result of prolonged stay," he explained.

"If this happens, they might succumb. Therefore, I think a patient should be given the opportunity to have closure, or speak their final words, if it is a case they do not wake up."

So, he said, the elderly lady chose to call her son, and what he heard touched him to share the story.

Mummy don't blame you for bringing covid home. Don't blame yourself if mummy don't end up waking up."

The tragic post has since gone viral, with the doctor encouraging everyone to stay at home to protect their older family members from the coronavirus

As of writing, the Instagram post has gained over 32,000 likes — with many netizens commenting that they were moved to tears, while others thanked Lau for his work and sacrifice on the front lines of the pandemic.

Image via Instagram
Image via Instagram
Image via Instagram

Remember to limit your movement and keep practising physical distancing. Watch the latest update on the COVID-19 situation:

In February, a 10-year-old girl from Selangor also begged the public to be more socially responsible during the pandemic:

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