The coronavirus doesn't kill a person once, but twice. At first, the virus isolates you from your family before death. When death does arrive, your family and friends don't have the authority to arrange the funeral or even look at the body one last time, as the risk of contagion is high. Authorities seal the body immediately and take it away for cremation or burial. The pain to bear the loss of a loved one due to the pandemic is immense and dignity for the dead is lost.
One such story is of Dianne, whose husband is fighting for his life at an intensive care unit with the coronavirus for more than two weeks. She is understandably terrified at the prospect of not being able to see him during his tough times, due to the hospital's strict cross-infection policy and her pain is unbearable.
But Then, Doctor Joel Meyer Came to Her Rescue
Joel Meyer from Guy's and St Thomas', Louise Rose from Kings College London and Aetonix CEO Michel Paquet couldn't bear to see the trauma of the family members and launched their brainchild The Life Lines Project. Their aim was to arrange laptops, tablets, smartphones and set up video calls for patients to talk to their family members. The team has now provided 1,046 tablets in 159 intensive care units and helped patients make more than 15,000 video calls across the world.
Dianne, found a ray of hope after she saw her husband through a video call and the very first word he spoke to her was ''I love you''. She said she immediately broke down in tears hearing her husband speak and said it was the most beautiful thing she had ever heard. ''The first time he was able to talk was when he'd been off the ventilator for three days, and his first words to me were: 'I love you.' I cried and cried. It was beautiful,'' she told the Daily Mail.
Dianne's husband recovered and was discharged from the hospital. When he reached home, he told his wife that her voice gave him all the strength to fight the virus. ''When he came home, I asked him whether he'd heard my voice when he was so ill on the ventilator, fighting for his life. He said he remembered hearing me and that it had given him strength.''
We Have Seen the Saddest Goodbyes: Joel Meyer
Joel revealed that his team has seen the saddest goodbyes but feels good that he managed to connect patients with their loved ones across continents. ''We've seen the saddest goodbyes, we've been able to connect people across continents. It's quite common for patients to want to chat to their pets. We've had a marriage proposal – a man, who was just about able to speak having recently come off a ventilator, wanted to propose to his girlfriend. And she said yes! Scenes like that, they really brighten all our days.''