SALISBURY, Md.— One married couple fought COVID-19 at the same time.
The disease forced both the husband and wife into the hospital for separate, long-stretched battles in TidalHealth Peninsula Regional’s intensive care unit, according to the health system. As their conditions failed to improve, the family had a difficult decision to make.
Overnight ICU nurses were told to withdraw support and make the pair comfortable.
Katie Clark and Michael King knew the two would want to be together.
The nurses moved both patients into the same room, lowered the side rails and joined the couple’s hands. The family was phoned by video call to be with their loved ones in the moment.
“He passed first, and she followed him, only eight minutes later,” said nursing supervisor Tina Martin, in a news release from TidalHealth. “While death is sad in any case, a silver lining for this couple is that they were able to be together and they did not have to know life without their person.”
Martin said nurses maintain the unique ability to make the dying process hurt “just a little less” for families. The pair now joins more than 8,000 deaths reported in Maryland due to the novel coronavirus. Their names were not published by the health system.
Clark and King were honored with the Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses for the compassion showed bringing these loved ones together, according to TidalHealth.
“Caring for patients in the ICU and at any level of care can be physically, mentally and emotionally challenging,” Martin said. “As nurses, we were tested even further with the introduction of the COVID-19 virus.”