When I am calling for a patient, the first thing I ask is if they have a family member at bedside. There are a variety of reasons for this: comfort for the patient, the person that the surgeon needs to speak to immediately after surgery is present, if the patient is confused, or has had medication that means they can’t sign their own consent, well the person at bedside most likely can.
Of all the reasons, the last is the most important.
And also, if the surgery is a dire one, they won’t be separated from their loved one until we are ready to head back. And if the surgery is dire, they probably can’t sign their own consent.
Have I called for a pause when the loved one arrives late to the hospital and fetched them so they could say goodbye to the patient.
You bet I have.
And I’d do it again.
Hell, I have done it again.
Does this delay the inevitable in the case?
Does this delay the case?
Does it give the patient who is about to undergo emergent surgery a measure of comfort? Absolutely.
And I will continue to call for a very slight delay so that the loved ones can see their patient before they head back for emergent surgery. Or I will hold the phone up to their ear so the patient can hear their loved one.
I do not regret it. One bit.