“Are You Alright?” On Pandemic Death, Isolation, Connection, and Walter Benjamin’s “The Storyteller”

Mary N. Layoun
A. Joseph Layon

Gentle Reader – A short time ago my friend, colleague, comrade and sister – and I – were asked to submit a piece to “Survive & Thrive: A Journal for Medical Humanities and Narrative as Medicine” on death and dying in the time of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID19).

This we did. A piece detailing the course – ultimately leading to his death – of a young man I cared for in the ICU. A young man, not even 20 years old, healthy, died in my arms. His mother looking on.

If, as is my hope, this work changes the mind of even one Vaccine-Hesitant, Vaccine-Denier, Anti-Vaccine person, then the work will have been worth it.

Please read. As always, your thoughtful comments are welcome.

About AJ Layon

AJ Layon was, for 28 years, at the University of Florida College of Medicine, in the Division of Critical Care Medicine, in Gainesville, FL. For the approximately 10 years until September 2011, he was Professor and Chief of Critical Care Medicine at UF; In September of 2011 he became System Director and Co-Chairman of Critical Care Medicine in PA; this ended in 2017. He served as a Physician in the Surgical Group with Médecins sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors without Borders) through 2018 and is presently an intensivist in Florida, struggling through the SARS-CoV-2 crisis. While his interests are primarily related to health care, health care reform, and ethical issues, as a citizen of our United States and our world, he will occasionally opine on issues of our "time and destiny". Follow on Twitter @ajlayon
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