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Watch: Anderson Cooper Calls Spouse's Goodbye to Dying Husband 'Extraordinarily Moving'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday August 6, 2020

David Hart and Dr. David Costa
David Hart and Dr. David Costa  (Source:Screen shot / CNN)

Out CNN anchor Anderson Cooper spoke with David Hart, the husband of an ICU doctor who died last month of COVID-19, and heard about how Hart discarded his PPE to say his goodbyes.

As reported previously at EDGE, ICU head of Baltimore hospital Mercy Medical Center Dr. Joseph Costa had been caring for patients for months when he came down with the virus himself. He ended up dying in his own ward, surrounded by colleagues. Hart was there, also, and the LGBTQ media reported how when Costa died he was in his husband's arms.

Cooper spoke with Hart about how Hart chose to forgo the protection of gloves and mask in order to be as present as possible with Costa in the last moments of his life. Cooper told Hart that he found that act of love and courage to be "extraordinarily moving."

Hart said he "could not imagine" not being allowed to be there for his husband as he lay dying - a not-uncommon scenario not so long ago, before marriage equality became the law of the land in 2015 and same-sex spouses were not always allowed by hospitals to be at the bedsides of dying LGBTQ patients.

"I had contracted COVID from Joe - at the time he was dying, I was just not going to not be able to touch him with my bare hands, with my cheek," Hart said.

Hart chose to take off his personal protective equipment.

"I know I wasn't supposed to do that, but at that point, it was what I wanted to do for him to help support and comfort him," Hart explained.

It was a privilege that the respected doctor's peers could not share in. Even so, many of them took the time to bid Costa farewell.

"So, they had their hands in blue gloves on his body," Hart recalled, going on to call it "a very poignant moment."

"For everybody who's been in that situation, for everybody who's lost a loved one, it's important to be there, and it's important to touch somebody," Hart said.

Cooper asked Hart his feelings about hearing the words "It is what it is" applied to the ongoing tragedy of the pandemic. President Donald Trump had used that phrase when talking about the rising death toll of COVID-19.

"I think of it through the lens of, can you imagine if my husband Joe walked into a room of COVID patients and said, 'Oh, it is what it is,' and just shoved their beds into the corner and walked out?" Hart replied. "I mean... I still can't process that. 'It is what it is?' It is unbelievable. I went to say to the president, 'Get off your ass, drive twenty blocks, and spend fifteen minutes in an ICA with a COVID patient who is dying. Do that.' "

Watch the video, below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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