In early 2020 there emerged a virus called COVID-19. The global statistics show that this is a disease that disproportionately affects the elderly, those with compromised immune systems and other ‘underlying conditions’ such as lung disease, hypertension and associated cardiac conditions to name a few.
In the first few months of 2020, Exit experienced a marked increase in readers subscribing to this book out of concern for their own vulnerability to COVID. The virus has changed the world that we once knew forever. Concepts such as social distancing, lockdown, viral load and so on are now common parlance. No one will ever forget the year that our lives changed so irrevocably.
Given the seriousness of the pandemic, important questions arise in regard to end of life planning, especially given the average age of readers of this book (75 years). The importance of having an up-to-date advance directive document and appointing an agent or proxy has really been brought home. In a March 2020 opinion article in The Globe and Mail, Toronto intensive care doctor, Gordon Rubenfeld, wrote:
If you do not talk with them about this now, you may have to have a much more difficult conversation with me later ... (see: https://bit.ly/rubenfeld).
Rubenfeld’s point was the importance of letting your friends and family know the type of care that you would want if you found yourself in ICU with coronavirus. But he was not only talking about the various end of life care wishes of individual patients. ‘That’ he said, was all part of a ‘typical week’ for him.