by: Keith Andrew Chan, MD
Do you remember that patient? No. Not just any patient. THAT patient. The one you got close to. Spent time with. Got obsessed about over their case. He or she wasn't particularly interesting. They weren't some actor or some famous person you met. No. They were the patient you studied medicine for. The one you thought to yourself "This a a life worth fighting for". The patient whose life you thought was under control. After all. The meds were in place. Numbers were on their side. They'd be going home. They'd see their kids. They'd go back to their farm, have a beer with their sons, chat with their daughters. You that patient? Yes. The one that you slowly watched defy all sound medical evidence and deteriorate beyond all means. The one whose relatives looked at you with eyes that screamed "You said she was ok". The patient that coded at 3 in the morning, but with you already in the room, probably too dumbfounded to realize the code team was screaming orders for the next epi around you. That patient. The one you'd give anything to bring back, not because of pride, ego, shame or guilt, but because you simply didn't understand "why" - the one word that drove you through school that you thought you had all figured out. DO you remember her? Her face? Her two grandchildren? Do you remember him? The veteran who fought for his country. The teacher who taught in the same classroom until she couldn't walk from her rheumatoid arthritis? Yes. I do. And I carry their memory in my heart as a remember of why I became a doctor.
Back from multiple hospital admissions
4 weeks ago