It never gets any easier

Rounds seemed to be going very well today. All of my patients from yesterday had made improvements, some small and some great. In the malnutrition room, I was joking with the families and we were all laughing.

As I finished my last patient of the day, I was notified that one of the patients of Dr. Edna had become very ill. She was a two year-old child who presented yesterday with diarrhea. I ran quickly to her bedside and immediately began a resuscitation. We were giving breaths with a bag and fluids in the IV. Her heart rate was at times good and others it dropped to a level requiring chest compressions.

It was an eerie scene. As I held the oxygen mask against her face, the teenage sister and brother, father and mother were on their knees praying on or by the bed. The mother could not look and frequently turned to the window. After approximately 30 minutes of trying to save her, I called the code and informed the family their child died.

Immediately the room erupted in long, agonizing wails. The brother and sister collapsed on the child, the mother fell to the ground, writhing and screaming, and the father stood in a trance chanting a prayer.


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