Milestones: The Worst One of All.

Lost my first patient (well, first as an MD) on Wednesday. Didn’t really want to talk about it, but I figured I should at least acknowledge.

We live in such fragile, temporary shelters.

Published in: on August 21, 2010 at 7:20 pm  Comments (19)  

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19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m really sorry, Dr. G. Really sorry.

  2. I’m so sorry. 😦 How do you give doctors hugs over the internet?

  3. Sorry, man. Thanks for being there to care.

  4. 😦 I hope you are doing all right. I love your blog, but I was awfully sorry to read this post.

    • Thanks, Margie. I miss you guys a lot.

      Hugs and cuddles to my Little Zombie Love-Muffin!

  5. So sorry to hear this! It must be very difficult for you. 😦 We’ve lost both my grandparents in the hospital. The doctors did everything they could, but both grandparents were just ready to go, and they went in spite of the doctors. HUGS

    • Thanks, Marian. I’m so sorry to hear about your grandparents. Hugs right back at you, and my best to your family.

  6. I’m very sorry, Dr. G. It must be so hard sometimes to spend your days rejoicing over good news in one hospital room and then grieving over a loss in the next. I hope you get some peace this week…take care.

  7. I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine what you must be feeling. The only thing I can say is that the fact you are feeling hurt and sad shows me you are still full up of compassion – a quality that often goes away in people who deal with death.

    I will keep you in my thoughts over the next few days.

    • Thanks, Not-So-Wicked Stepmother. I really do appreciate your reframing of the situation. At least something comes of this, I guess.

      (You know, I took a leadership seminar once, and reframing was one of the most valuable and difficult-to-learn skills. It takes a lot of creativity and flexibility of thinking, and it’s just an excellent ability to have. I’m very impressed! πŸ˜€ )

  8. First, my sincere condolances.
    I always wanted to work in the medical field but ended up as a teacher, which I did enjoy. I wonder how I would’ve handled losing a patient? Not well, I expect.
    This brings back to me just how little control we can have over life, even with so many miraculous medical advances and medicines.
    I had two major surgeries last year, had some complications resulting in my being kept sedated for five days after the second 8 hour surgery. From the view point of patient, I’ve had months since then to contemplate my own fragile hold on life. (I am fine, now.)

    While I was in the ICU, there was a patient who died in another room, and I could hear them trying to intubate him during an asthma attack, I believe after surgery. The staff on the whole floor were very professional in the following investigation, but the grief they felt was tangible.
    Another night in ICU, I heard the nurses get calls about a terrific train/van accident. They were preparing to receive five victims, even though this hospital was over thirty miles from the scene. I then heard them take a call that revealed no survivors, that the ICU staff was supposed to help with identifying the victims, with purses, wallets, etc. These were students after a game. Again, the atmosphere was incredibly mournful, almost like a fog of grief penitrated the hospital unit. I knew without them saying anything to me that the chance to save lives was taken from them, and it hurt.
    I commiserate with all of you in the medical profession, it takes such strength to face mortality and to go on working with other patients.
    God bless you.

    • Oh, wow, Sherry. You know, it only rarely occurs to me how my patients react to the things going around them. I should be a lot more sensitive to that. Recently it was brought to my attention because one of my patients was in a stepdown unit (intermediate seriousness between intensive care and the regular floors). At the hospital where I work, the stepdowns are one large room with 3-4 patients each. Overnight, one of the other people in my patient’s unit had their heart stop over and over throughout the night. The next morning, my patient described to me what the codes looked like, with people doing CPR and passing medicines back and forth and assessing with monitors and shocking them and everything. Her eyes were wide, and I could tell that she had never, EVER imagined that things like that happen in the universe. I was lucky because I could spare a couple of minutes to talk to her about it (EXTREMELY rare), and I hope I answered her questions well enough so she didn’t feel too traumatized by the experience.

      Thank you so much for your kind wishes.

  9. You are most welcome.
    The nighttime hours are so long in ICU and ICU stepdown, as a patient. The lights are always on, and I was on morphine drip, which caused me many hallucinations when I closed my eyes, so I kept them open as much as possible. =:-O I cannot understand why anyone would willingly take drugs if they didn’t need to!!!
    One nurse joked, “There is no sleeping in ICU!” He was right πŸ™‚
    The floor I was on was the top floor in a large hospital, the helicopter landing pad was very close by. The strobe lights for the helicopter landing and taking off would shine through my window blinds, and the wind made such a mournful sound (it was winter). I could hear sirens for a long time before ambulances arrived at the hospital. I spent a lot of time praying for those coming to the hospital.
    I did write a scene depicting these experiences a few months after I got out of the hospital, but my critique partners thought it was too dark to use. I write contemporary romance. But it was good for me to get them down on paper. This is a good exercise to suggest, even for nonwriters, your blog here is a good example.
    I can tell you are a compassionate doctor, hopefully my sharing will give you more insight into what the patient experiences.

  10. great…

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