A third year student talks about a patient and his family
I admitted a man who thought that he was coming in for a simple infectious disease and only a few days later found out that he actually had metastatic melanoma and wasn’t going to make it more than a few months, if that long. It was quite the surprise for the patient and his family and quite a surprise for the team based on his presentation. During his hospitalization, I was able to really get to know the family. Each day, the wife would bring old pictures of the family to show me and the son would give me a hug as he walked out of the room.
One night, we had a lot of trouble with a cross-cover resident not taking care of pain for this patient. It was nice to be able to quickly assure the family that that wasn’t ever going to be a problem again.
One evening, I was the last member of my team in the hospital, and I felt the need to check on this patient before I left because I knew that this might be the day he was going to pass away. I arrived to find him dead. He had apparently passed away about 2 minutes before I walked up the stairs. I spent some time with his family in a conference room and then noticed that the nursing staff were preparing his body for the family to view. I was able to go in and help pull out all the tubes and IV’s and do everything to get him ready, and then it was noted that the body was supposed to be donated to science. I was totally humbled by this, and the family was overwhelmed, but it was just more evidence of how neat of a guy this was.