We know the patient was dying slowly. She had been warded for almost a month. Post chemotherapy had rendered her body frailer and despite countless dose of antibiotics and GCSF, the patient’s immune system had fail to response and fight the rampant infection.
And finally, yesterday, her BP became low in the afternoon and soon required inotrope, then by evening, her breathing getting worse. And then she stopped breathing on her own. CPR was just a futile effort.
I made an attempt to call in anaest to get her intubated before her conditions worsen and while I trying to break the bad news to her husband who tears flow freely, I found myself overcame by my emotion and I barely able to contain myself and I choked on my words ( I hope pt’s husband had not noticed it). I went to MO room and let my emotion to be stable before I came out.
I had been in service for past 3 years and I saw the passing of patients and I still found myself react to the event.
Maybe a vulnerable moment make us a better doctor.
A quick googling and found this article in BMJ, which concluded:
“Doctors who spend a longer time caring for their patients get to know them better but this also makes them more vulnerable to feelings of loss when these patients die. Medical teams may benefit from debriefing within the department to give junior doctors an opportunity to share emotional responses and reflect on the patient’s death.”