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No callus around our hearts: Grieving with patients
 

No callus around our hearts: Grieving with patients

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We may all remember that picture of an emergency room doctor that went viral not too long back. It was a picture of a doctor outside the emergency room who was crying after losing the life of a young patient. Taking a moment to himself to feel his own emotions, he walks back into the ER and continues his work.
 
today.mims.com
 
25 Aug 2016 - General
 
Losing a patient is sad. I can still remember in full detail how our group's first CPR experience went unsuccessful for a pediatric patient. However, we all held it in front of the patient and only shed tears when we were inside our quarters. As doctors, we must practice empathy and not sympathy because we are the ones who should exude objectivity in treating illness and dealing with death. It is also our responsibility to exhibit emotional stability in front of the departed's survivors ...
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Jennifer Winter You must have been doing paediatric medicine. In paediatric general surgery the death toll is very minimal. Surgery is a one off treatment most of the times. If a child has something he shouldn't have, we take it off. If a child doesn't have something he should have, we create it. :) It's not as simple as it sounds but that's how we say it :D They do need long term follow up, but ...
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Theekshana Abayawickrama: It really does echo. The death of a child hurts me the most. I have unfortunately seen quite a lot of children die and I never found that "tolerance". This is one of the reasons why I chose not to go into pediatrics, despite me being very good with kids, as it hurts too much. This child will never graduate, never get a job, never get married, never have children..so many possibi...
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Jennifer Winter It really does echo in my head as well. I just read the phrase again for probably the 20th time, and it still hits the deepest part of the heart. At my current workplace, a children's hospital, deaths are a rare occurrence and in my time here I have witnessed only a few. The death of a child is much much more traumatic than passing away of an adult. When you realize that a life just flew away ...
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Theekshana Abayawickrama I feel his words to echo as they are that deep. It really squeezes your insides on how true his words are. I know we all have experienced feeling that pain and realized that we need to dust ourselves off and help the next patient. Marinelle Castro: Relating this to pharmacologic tolerance is a pretty good c...
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I can only compare emotional resilience to pharmacologic tolerance. The more exposure you get, the more resilient you become. But resilience to emotional tragedies does not mean that we don't grieve internally. We just learned to be functional (even hyperfunctional) whenever we're dealing with such situations, because we know that internalizing these emotions will not be healthy for us as healthcare professionals. There has to be a balance of empathy as an outward expression of support v...
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I do not deal with death as a dentist. I kill tooth during root canal and that's it. I cannot imagine the work you do, nurses and doctors, and face death on regular basis. Reading this, I realized I don't know how I'd be if were in your position. Will I be the weeping doctor that cries in front of patients as they bawl? Will I be the one that waits for the audience to leave, so I could release the pain? Will I be tough and indifferent--or learn to hold emotions, at least. I wonder. T...
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"And in the end, when the life went out of him and my hands could work no more, I left from that place into the night and wept – for myself, for life, for the tragedy of death’s coming. Then I rose, and walking back to the suffering-house, forgot again my own wounds for the sake of healing theirs" This is a phrasing of the words of an ER doctor whose photo went viral that showed him/her weeping after his/her patient died despite all attempts at resuscitation. This is so deep. We as doc...
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There is no callus around our hearts! "We are not robots. We are not well oiled machines. Sometimes we need to hang up our stethoscope and put down our scalpels and give ourselves a well deserved rest to free our minds." We have seen many doctors have break downs or experience burn out due to countless losses. Usually when such situations happen around here we find comfort in our colleagues who would give us a hug, a pat on the back and an "ok lang yan" (it's ok). The ar...
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