* * Anonymous Doc

Thursday, September 24, 2009

And outpatient month was going so well.... I was asked to cover someone's overnight last night because of an illness, and I'm realizing-- so much of this really must be about sleep, and whether I'm getting enough of it to not sink into an abyss.

We had a patient overnight, the family decided to finally take her off life support, had finally decided that this was enough and she wasn't ever going to come off of it on her own. But they wanted the chaplain there when she died. I haven't dealt with the hospital chaplains much-- I see them around, but this was the first time I was actually asked to call one in. I try the office, but it was almost midnight already, there's no one there. The senior resident told me to call the guy at home-- so I called him, woke him up, and at first he didn't want to come in. Asked if the family would wait until the morning. Which they didn't want to. He apparently lives almost an hour away, was tired.... Anyway, he finally agrees to come in.

And so we stop the medication that's keeping up the blood pressure, expecting the patient to go very quickly... and she doesn't. She's breathing on her own, her blood pressure is stable.... After a few minutes, the chaplain pulls me aside and asks, "just how long is this going to take?"

The patient died a few hours later. The chaplain stayed with the family, comforted them....

I suppose just like it's easy for people to forget that doctors are just regular human beings, it's also easy for me to forget the chaplain is just a regular human being... but still....

1 comment:

  1. Go ahead...finish telling your thought. "But still..." ...what?