Wednesday, October 12, 2005

How many people have you seen die?
Someone asked me that in a chatroom recently.
In the real world, most will deal with death perhaps just a few times.
Personally, I've lost count. 25? 50? 75? From the ICU septic patients to the CCU pulseless vtac to terminal cancer. Not that anyone's keeping score.
Something we don't think about much being doctors. Which is bad, because we become desensitized. You don't think twice about it anymore. True, we do show compassion, and we feel sad for the family. But when we leave, often we don't give much though of it anymore, other than the prayer we give when we go to bed. We talk about patients passing, sometimes saddened that our efforts didn't yield success. But the world keeps on spinning. And you sometimes feel guilty that you don't feel more.
Perhaps it's a defense mechanism? Or perhaps it's just become work. In IT, computers crash. In medicine, people die. Not a fair comparison by any means, but perhaps it IS because we've learnt to see it as work.
And no, I'm not some heartless SOB doctor. My patients can testify to that. Just that death has become routine. Though I dread the day when it becomes personal.

4 Comments:

Blogger Sabrina Tan said...

it comes with the job, with any health profession i suppose..it's just that docs have more contact with death compared to the others...
sad sad fact..but inevitable..

12:42 AM  
Blogger Tinkerbell said...

Would you be touched if the death had been that of a young patient, married with very young children? Especially if you have met the young spouse and cute little kids on their hospital visits?

I think the saddest, cruelest thing in the world is young children losing a parent through death.

I also think the most rewarding profession in the world is that of someone who can directly touch people's lives :=) You have chosen well :=)

2:09 AM  
Blogger vagus said...

yea, youth and death don't go along well. it bothers me when i have young patients die.
thankfully i don't see pediatric patients, that would be tougher.
young children losing parents is tough; but i think the opposite is worst: a parent should never have to outlive their child. someone said that once.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

Well, I guess it is part and parcel of a job description. You just need to gather yourself for this one. That is why there are so few of you. Not many people is this brave. Keep up the good work.

9:33 AM  

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