Awful

Palliative Care Helped Family Face ‘The Awful, Awful Truth’

Seattle mourned the news: Elizabeth and Robert Mar died of COVID-19 within a day of each other. They would have celebrated 50 years of marriage in August.

But their deaths at the end of March were not the same. Liz, a vivacious matriarch at 72, died after two weeks sedated on a ventilator. Her analytical engineer husband, Robert, 78, chose no aggressive measures. He was able to communicate with their adult children until nearly the end.

Clinician Darrell Owens helped the Mar family navigate this incredibly difficult time.

“You cannot underestimate the stress on family members who cannot visit and are now in a crisis mode trying to talk this through over the phone,” said Owens, a doctor of nursing practice who runs palliative and supportive care at the University of Washington Medical Center-Northwest in Seattle.

Elizabeth and Robert Mar on their first wedding anniversary in Portland, Oregon, on Aug.

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