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Blueprint for Obtaining Last Rites in Hospital for COVID-19 Patients

When bishops fail to protect access to the Sacraments, it is up to the laity to champion Last Rites for dying patients.

Following the direction of my pastor, I am documenting our family’s successful struggle overcoming a hospital’s refusal to allow my mother, a confirmed COVID-19 patient, to receive last rites from a priest. My pastor felt it was important to share this story in case there are other Catholics in this position who may benefit from the path we have taken. I am writing this anonymously without any identifiable information so that it may be shared as widely as possible on social media without any concerns.

On March 29, 2020, my 78-year-old, lifelong Catholic mother received last rites from a priest while she was a confirmed COVID-19 patient at an intensive care unit (ICU) at a semi-rural hospital run by a private regional health system in Georgia. For two days, my mother’s request for last rites was repeated to hospital staff by her immediate family with no success. On day three, after consultation with an attorney who helped us with the wording and the strategy, we made the request again with more firmness and clarity.

The following is a blueprint of what worked in our case.

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