An intense morning

Today, one of the pediatricians was feeling ill and the other was proctoring an exam for the medical students. I was asked to see most of the patients on all the services. I enjoyed being the only doctor. I was able to take my time and was unrushed throughout.

The day was calm until I made my way to Paulo. He is a cute three year-old who presented with diarrhea. Each time I approach his bed, he presents his thin hand for me to shake.

Last evening, his abdomen expanded a little and he had greater than 30 stools. Unfortunately, the nursing staff was not made aware of the clinical change. In the morning, he seemed exhausted and the signs of dehydration were apparent. I immediately transferred him to the intensive care unit and began aggressive therapy.

As I was leaving his bed, Paulo’s mother hesitantly called me back. Tears began to stream down her face and she muttered in English “Doctor, please save my child”. I fought back tears, and then stated “I will do everything in my power to keep him alive”.


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