, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 741-742
Date: 16 Nov 2012

Meeting Death

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Despite 4 years of medical school at a large, tertiary care center; despite 12 months of third year rotations; despite a 1-month medicine acting internship in a high acuity medical intensive care unit; despite advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS) algorithms, the pushing of pints of pressors and the occasional series of chest compressions delivered to the tune of The Bee Gees “Staying Alive”; despite lost pulses, stopped breaths, and pupils nonreactive to light; despite numerous disconnected ventilators and chain-hung curtains quietly pulled; despite the anger and tears and disbelief and goodbyes of family members; despite daily discussions with a dying patient’s very demented husband about his wife’s imminent passing, each met with the horror of that information being completely new; despite the yellow highlighting on about a half dozen death certificates and the collegial shoulder squeezes of well-meaning residents and attendings; despite eulogies in local western Pennsylvanian ...