Expressing grief through the power of story
“Now the room is silent as if nothing at all occurred. I stand watching the red stain forming on the pristine white sheet, mocking me in my failure. I trained at excellent institutions, survived residency, and served in combat. Now, here at a Level 1 trauma center, I could not save this life with every possible medical tool at my disposal. This injury, this particular injury, always has, and forever will, haunt my dreams. The hubris to think that I could be the difference, that I am better than those who came before me, was answered tonight, as it has been before, by this deserved slap in the face.
I absorb the charged silence; my mind wanders back to my third year of medical school. I was doing well, a moderate prodigy of the medical department. I was ready for every conference, every patient, well-read and well prepared, until that fateful day.”
Richard Morand is a trauma surgeon. Melissa Fournier is a social worker. They are, respectively, contribute and co-editor, The Healer’s Burden: Stories and Poems of Professional Grief.
They share their stories and discuss the KevinMD article, “I could not save this life with every possible medical tool at my disposal.” (https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2020/11/i-could-not-save-this-life-with-every-possible-medical-tool-at-my-disposal.html)