They couldn't say goodbye in person, so ICU patients are using tablets instead

A nurse assists a Covid-19 patient during a Zoom video call at Stamford Hospital ICU in Stamford, Connecticut, on April 24.

(CNN)Some hospitals are stocking enough iPads to rival a modest Apple store. But the reason for this reflects a grim reality: They're being used to connect Covid-19 patients with their families -- sometimes, for the last conversation they'll ever have.

When Dr. Mark Shapiro posted about a patient saying goodbye to his family via an iPad, he wanted to communicate to others the severity of this pandemic.
"As the ICU (intensive care unit) team makes ready, there's a key step we mustn't forget," Shapiro, who is a hospitalist at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in California, wrote on Twitter. "At first he says "No," but we encourage him. The nurse brings in the iPad. With the last air in his shattered lungs, he says goodbye to his family. Over an internet connection."
    Hospitals have been overwhelmed by the thousands of patients coming in every day after contracting coronavirus. Across the US, there's been a shortage of hospital supplies for medical staff and beds for patients.
    And the contagious nature of the illness has forced hospitals to limit, and often forbid, visitation rights to mitigate its spread. The latest solution has been the implementation of iPad stations and other virtual technology so patients can communicate with their friends and family -- often, for the last time.