Scenario: Local teaching hospital - Internal Medicine ward
My first encounter with death. I was an intern, and medical school definitely did not prepare me for dealing with death, the dying & their loved ones.
The patient was a 40+ year old lady with advanced CA Breast that had metastasised to her lungs. Despite the oxygen mask, she was gasping desparately for air. Her pre-teen daughter was at the foot of the bed, crying; her husband was at her bedside, crying & pleading with his wife to "hang on, fight it, fight it..." Before our very eyes, she was being asphyxiated by the cancer cells that had taken over her lungs.
I wanted to yell at her husband to stop, to comfort his wife instead of asking her to struggle on, I wanted to cry with the daughter, but it was not my place to do so...I had to leave the room to compose myself before I broke down. I did not re-renter it until the patient had passed on. Fortunately, I had an understanding MO.