Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 762–763 | Cite as


  • Jason D. YoungEmail author
Healing Arts

We pressed our ears against the door. Silence. I looked to B. He knocked timidly.

A few moments passed. B pulled the latch. We entered.


A pause. It was late in the evening, and I was on night call with my intern, B. We had come to visit Mrs. A, a patient of ours on the medicine service.

A faint light suffused the room with a pale glow. Scattered around were Mrs. A’s family: children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Some were piled onto the empty patient bed next to Mrs. A’s; others sat in chairs, bundled in hospital blankets; still others stood silently in the shadowy recesses of the room. Towards the end of this crowd, which must have numbered over twenty, were Mrs. A and her four daughters who huddled quietly around her bed.

We weaved through to reach Mrs. A. Upon seeing us, one of her daughters leaned in to alert her mother to our presence, speaking softly in a dialect of Portuguese that resembled a humming lullaby with its whispered z’s and v’s.

Mrs. A lay dying. She had...


medical education end of life care doctor-patient relationships 



I would like to thank Dr. Eugene Beresin for his advice, support, and encouragement in the writing of this narrative.


  1. 1.
    Schmit JM, Meyer LE, Duff JM, Dai Y, Zou F, Close JL. Perspectives on death and dying: a study of resident comfort with End-of-life care. BMC Med Educ 2016;16(1). doi:
  2. 2.
    Cooper Z, Meyers M, Keating NL, Gu X, Lipsitz SR, Rogers SO. Resident Education and Management of End-of-Life Care: The Residents Perspective. J Surg Educ 2010;67(2):79–84. doi: Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations