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April 15, 1968

Tolerance Toward Visitors In the Intensive Care Unit

JAMA. 1968;204(3):274. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140160084038

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To the Editor:—  The rules imposed by the intensive care units of hospitals require the immediate family to limit visiting to very brief periods of time. This restriction is most unfavorable to good medical care. The critically-ill patient mainly has the right to die quietly. A man in his last moments certainly deserves to be left alone with his family. The few doubtful hours of a hapless soul are made speechless, helpless, and lifeless by the blood pressure cuff, the electrocardiogram electrodes, the central venous pressure, intravenous, rectal, and nasogastric tubes, the urinary catheter, the oral airway and tracheostomy tubes, or by large doses of sedatives or hypnotics. These surely are not worth more than a few moments spent by a mother caressing a loved one. The moan of the patient in the adjacent bed, the bustling nurse, the rushing intern, the beep of the cardiac monitor, the hum of