This is where tuberculosis patients, including little Luis’ father, were kept, quarantined away from other patients. It is quite different from the standard isolation facilities seen at most hospitals today, but this is all they had, and they made the most of it.
Outside is where little Luis played while visiting the hospital.
And Puppydoc did end up getting latent TB after caring for the patients, but she took medicine and is now all better.
• On my first day of walking to work at the hospital,
I met a group of children who would end up becoming my daily escorts.
This was a moment captured while the vigilant residents
inspected my suspicious-looking digital device.
You didn’t know this. But I spent days and nights next door to where you decided to end your life. Where the doctors gather, pondering over differentials… treatments…dissecting our every move to ensure that we are doing the right thing for you.
The right thing…
If I had known you, I would have fought for you. I know you weren’t my patient; I know we had never even met. I am just the person who found you. Who pronounced you. You were already cold, but still, I placed the stethoscope against your chest and listened.
I didn’t hear anything.
Did you hear me as
I wept for you?
you were suffering. I’m sorry you felt
as if you had
no way out.
I’m sorry I couldn’t do more.
This is a reflection over an event that happened during residency. An event I still think about at times. A lingering guilt.
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Founded in 2013 by Phoebe Chi, MD, PhoebeMD: Medicine + Poetry is a health information and literary arts website that aims to inspire, empower, and inform through a curated mix of essential health information, uplifting personal stories, and original poetry.