EDITORIAL | This is uncharted territory for everyone, including you
While doctors, ethicists and politicians feel their way, individuals need to listen or bear the consequences too
You’re an intensive care doctor at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, the institution at the centre of dealing with the worst Covid-19 outbreak in Africa.
Every day, patients are dying, and the knowledge you could acquire from a sample of their blood or a biopsy of their lung tissue, once they have died, might help you to save lives down the line.
You can’t ask patients at death’s door for permission to take samples, and you can’t approach their next of kin, because they aren’t allowed to visit. Seeking permission by phone immediately after passing on the news of a loved one’s death would be insensitive, if not inhumane...