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Bereaved families faced 'stark choice' if there was no PPE, Covid inquiry hears

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Some families faced a “stark choice” between saying goodbye to a loved one or attending their funeral during the pandemic if PPE was not available, an inquiry has heard.Dr Barbara Miles, president of the Scottish Intensive Care Society, said that if a patient was being treated in a unit where full personal protective equipment (PPE) had to be worn, a family member would be deemed a close contact if they went in to say a final farewell without it.

They would then have to isolate and risk missing the funeral if it fell within the isolation period.Dr Barbara Miles, herself an intensive care doctor in Glasgow, was giving evidence to the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry on Thursday.

Faryma Bahrami, junior counsel to the inquiry, asked her to expand on a written statement she submitted to it.She said: “You say that sometimes a stark choice had to be presented to families with regards to visiting their loved one at the end of life or attending a funeral.”Dr Miles replied: “If your family member was at that point within an environment that required personal protective equipment to deem that you have not been a Covid contact, staff in order to go into that environment would require to be wearing full PPE.“That was not always available in all areas to patients’ family members visiting, so if they went into that area when the patient was sadly at the end of their life to visit their family member they would be deemed to be a Covid contact, and the advice at that point was that they would go home and isolate, and if the funeral occurred during that period of isolation then the advice would have been at that point that they should not attend the funeral.”Addressing the impact of the pandemic on intensive care, she said that critical care

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