It's one of those crimes that just leaves you shaking your head in despair. Sanaz Nezami was beaten to death by her husband. Smart and vibrant, she had just arrived to Michigan to pursue an advanced degree in engineering when his savagery left her brain dead. Far away from her family in Iran, they couldn't be there physically in her last moments, but the nurses at the hospital helped them say their final goodbyes over the Internet.
There was apparently no hope that Nezami would recover. She couldn't speak for herself, so staff Googled her name to find out who she was. They found an online resume and learned she was a brilliant woman from Iran who spoke three languages and had won awards for her writing. They then tracked down her relatives and set up a camera that streamed images of her on life support to her family's computer. They were 6,000 miles away, but they were able to relay just how much she meant to them.
They were able to communicate to the nurses to kiss her forehead, to stroke her cheek for them. A stream of family members was able to say goodbye with some level of intimacy. The hospital staff says this is the first time they've done something like this.
It was an excruciatingly painful situation, but seeing her gave this family so much comfort. Needless to say, they are eternally grateful to those incredibly compassionate nurses. So touched, the family donated Nezami's heart, lungs, and other organs to seven people in the United States. A remarkable gift considering that donations happen in less than 1 percent of cases.
We so often criticize technology for making us more distant and our connections to each other so cold, but this is one way where it provided a heartwarming goodbye they would not have had otherwise. The family, so grateful, went on to bless others who needed Nezami's organs. Perhaps that would not have happened without technology taking a role in this heartbreaking goodbye.
In what ways has technology brought you closer to someone?
Image via Philippe Lissac/Godong/Corbis