Sunday, October 19, 2008

Always a Doctor, Even in the Dying of the Light

Medical skill is not commonly associated with writing ability. For that reason, it's always great to find physicians who not only break that stereotype but smash it to pieces.

I'd like to recommend Always a Doctor, Even in the Dying of the Light by Kenneth Weinberg, M.D., an emergency room physician who just wrote about the death of his radiologist father in the New York Times.
I don’t know how he stayed alive so long with blood counts that I, as an emergency physician, associate only with patients at the edge of death; I don’t know why his blood felt cold; and most of all, I don’t know why his dying brought no tears to my eyes.

Was it because after his memorial service, determined to celebrate his life, my brothers and I bought Champagne — and then, at my mother’s request, went into his closet, tried on his old clothes and staged a spontaneous fashion show, causing the assembled wives and grandchildren, and my mother, to laugh for an uproarious hour?

Or was it because he died at home, surrounded by those he loved, in such stark contrast to what I experience so often at work: all of those patients circling the drain on trips between nursing home and emergency room, and then dying alone with no one to feel their blood turn cold?
Thank you for sharing this with us, Dr. Weinberg. Your account moved this radiologist to tears.

(via PalliMed)

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