I watched in silence as the senior physician felt the pulse and auscultated the 76 year old unresponsive gentleman on the hospital bed. He was diagnosed with a terminal stage of periampullary carcinoma with metastasis and was admitted 2 days back due to breathing difficulty and reduced appetite. When I first walked into his room during rounds, his severely jaundiced yellow eyes, emaciated appearance and heavy breathing struck a cord of empathy. I remember him complaining of decreased appetite and his daughter echoing the same. The lab results were no good news either- his kidneys were on a downhill journey.. The physician had explained the terminal stance of the situation and had advised the consideration of Ryle’s tube feeding. But both the bystanders and the patient himself were not willing. And on the 3rd day of admission, during rounds we were called to this ward with the news that this gentleman had stopped breathing. We walked in to see him staring into eternity, his heaving chest having come to a standstill.Well, his bystanders probably knew well that he had moved on. They watched in silence as the physician examined to pass his final verdict. And as he removed the stethoscope from his ears and turned around to break the news with a simple all explanatory head nod, there was a sudden burst of tears. Yes, they knew. But they had waited for confirmation-the death declaration.The physician gently closed the staring eyes and we walked out.The death certificate was signed and details entered. Our job was done and we walked towards the next patient. But every time you confront death, you can feel it’s cold musty scent. It will make you stop and reflect on your mortality. But the coldness of death gets warmed by the need of many others you are trying to temporarily salvage from its arms.
Author: anila varghese
Nothing but a recipient of Christ's grace. I am a young doctor and I use this space to find meaning in the bedlam of my thoughts. My blog might resonate with the screams of a young adult finding her place in life, the stench of hospital corridors, images of the many people who intrigue me and the lessons my Saviour Jesus teaches me. View All Posts