First, Do No (Self) Harm
When a doctor in your hospital system kills himself, the entire medical staff receives a mass email informing everyone of “Dr. So-and-So’s sudden unexpected death”. Thoughts and prayers for his family and loved ones. Perhaps a link to your Employee Assistance Program is provided, for those who may need counseling or grief assistance. This is followed later that day with another email detailing the schedule for the final arrangements. Calling hours. Funeral. Directions to the church.Not everyone will have known the physician. So most scan the email and then go about their day. But then you pass people in the halls; residents, peers, nurses who knew him, worked with him, laughed with him, and so you see the smudged mascara, the middle distance gazes, the shattered disbelief of those who now believe in ghosts. Your eyes meet and neither of you know what to say. What the hell? What happened? And the other will say,didn ’t you hear? Shot himself. In his own backyard. Called EMS just before doing it. Jesus you say. Jesus. I wondered if he had children. Another way of asking, was he loved? And it ’s absurd and unkind and naive and ignorant. Was he loved. Or more gently, did he leave behind someone he ought not to have? I had known this particular doctor. Not particularly well, we weren ’t friends or anything. I didn &r...
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