Source: NickMoore911, “An ER doctor steps outside after losing a 19-year old patient. (Posted by a close friend and coworker on Facebook; We are both EMTs.)” Imgur. 19 March 2015 http://imgur.com/gallery/gOkfUDg On 19 March 2015, Redditor NickMoore91 posted on Imgur a photograph with this heading: “An ER [Emergency Room] doctor steps outside after losing a 19-year old patient. (Posted by a close friend and coworker on Facebook; We are both EMTs [Emergency Medical Technicians].)” Here are some comments on Reddit: 1) J-HOF wrote, “Wow, this really hits home for me. I lost my father earlier last year from an aortic dissection. He started feeling a weird pain in his chest and within an hour he was dead. He was a perfectly healthy 49-year-old man. The doctors kept reassuring us that he would be fine. When he died, the doctors who were working on him at the UCSD [University of California, San Diego] Medical Center were crushed. I could definitely see it in their eyes. They called my house multiple times throughout the year to see how my family was doing. Doctors do not get the praise they deserve.” 2) NewYorkerinGeorge commented on HOF’s post, “My wife’s dad died the same way, but faster. He was looking at turtles in an aquarium and keeled over. There just happened to be two EMT’s there who practically caught him, and a hospital with a great heart center six blocks away. He still died, and the doctors just could not believe it. They were stunned and confused and felt awful. Their emotions were a comfort to my wife and her family. It freed them from [any] expectation that they would ever understand [the death].” 3) SonofGizmoduck commented on HOF’s post, “Blood banker here. So very sorry for your loss. Aortic dissections scare the hell out of all of us. I’ve been in cases where we are handing out units of blood as fast as we can… where people will have their blood volumes replaced one, two, three times over and still we can’t keep them going. You’ll probably never see us… you may never know that we exist… but we’re pulling for you and working as hard and as fast as we can to keep you going… and wishing we could do more.” 4) Dr_The_Watson commented on SonofGizmoduck’s comment, “Resident in my ER rotation here. We had a blood bank worker run and jump over a chair with two units of O Neg last week. You guys [blood bankers] are dope.” 5) livinbandit wrote, “Hey there. My dad is an ER doctor, and has been for as long as I’ve been alive, always working nights. He doesn’t usually talk about patients, but he would talk about the gross things he’s had to deal with around the dinner table with the family. “The times that I do remember, though, however rare they were, were the times he would come home, and cry in my mother’s arms because there was someone that he couldn’t save no matter how hard he tried… He didn’t think any of us kids were watching, but I seemed to always see. I’ve never had more respect for my dad than when I would see him cry because he felt like he could have done more… even if he couldn’t have.” 6) Facetus wrote, “Hi, I have been a silent spectator on Reddit for a while now and use you guys and girls to perk up most of my days recently. Thanks a lot for that. “Just got back from a shift in ER, a job I have been doing for the past 11 years. The last year has been particularly tough, and as I was driving to work last night, for the first time really I was seriously considering the thought that it is time for me to get out of emergency medicine. Some days it is really hard to remember why we do this job. I know exactly how the doc in the picture feels. “The strange thing is, despite the picture showing such a dark moment and bringing back some distressing memories, it actually makes me feel happier about my career choice. I think it is the sense of connection with the unknown doc in the pic and the comments and reaction of Reddit community that makes me feel this: What we do matters. (As Mel Herbert from EM:RAP [Emergency Medicine: Reviews and Perspectives] likes to say.) “Thanks, Redditors, for not only perking up my day but also making me feel happy about life and career again. I needed to see this today.” For More Information: NickMoore911, “An ER doctor steps outside after losing a 19-year old patient. (Posted by a close friend and coworker on Facebook; We are both EMTs.).” Reddit. 19 March 2015
Deborah Orr: The image of the sobbing doctor proves that ‘professional distance’ has its human limits (Guardian)
From medics to lawyers, we often expect people to mask their feelings for the sake of professional distance. But there is no shame if that mask slips occasionally.
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