Beating COVID19 is a community effort
It was On 23rd March 2020 that Tobin Brothers Funerals cared for its first COVID19 death. Since that time, we have cared for over 100 clients who have died from this hideous virus. Over my 30 plus years as a funeral director I have been witness to those that have lost their lives to other infectious diseases including HIV, Hep A, Hep B, Hep C, Hep D and many others but I have never seen anything like COVID19.
At Tobin Brothers, we have a COVID19 taskforce team that cares for the transfers of the deceased from the place of death and specialist embalmers to care for the preparation of the deceased for viewings. As a member of the COVID taskforce, over recent weeks I have been to a number of nursing homes and hospitals all over Melbourne. I must say that the vast majority of the nursing homes I have attended are modern and contemporary, certainly different to nursing homes that we would regularly visit 20 and 30 years ago. Often they were old, rundown and the majority of patients were living in shared rooms and sharing bathroom facilities. The one consistency that I have found in visiting these facilities is, the only people present are staff. More often than not when you attend a transfer family and friends are gathered to support one another. When you die as a result of COVID19 you do so in complete isolation with only the support of the staff in these facilities.
I have always had the highest regard for nurses. My wife Louise, my sister Cathy, my mother-in-law Anne are all nurses. Their passion, their meticulous attention to detail, care and love of patients is something I have always admired. In these peoples last hours, these great super-heroes, nurses, are the ones left to provide care and comfort. In some of the venues I have attended in recent weeks I have witnessed how stretched nurses are. You see how tired they are but with all this in mind the one thing that continuously shines through is how much they genuinely care.
COVID19 is a terrible virus. In attending some health facilities I have witnessed the patients suffering, their cries, the buzzers calling for help and the loneliness. This virus does not discriminate – the young, the old, the saint the sinner, the rich, the poor. The role we all have to play to support the Premier and the Chief Health Officers stage 4 instructions is so important and if we all do our part the worst will pass. We all have a role to play because it is #whatweneedtodo.
I implore you all to please play your part, to do what you can to protect yourself and the community and finally, if you know a nurse or another person working at the front line of health, pick up the phone, text them, shoot them a note of support. The work they are doing is absolutely amazing.
James MacLeod - Managing Director, Tobin Brothers Funerals