Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Doc's Life - Memorable Moments 7

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.

1 comment:

Chen said...

Seeing patients dying is indeed a sad thing, especially someone that we have "take care" of for so long.. However, with times, I think most of us in this field have get so used to this already.. I have been working in this field for 7 years plus already and I have see so many deaths over the past few years... But one recent death (one of my patient) really touched me, regarding the love shown by the deceased twin sisters...