Monday, March 25, 2024


 The Un-Operative Note

I was not on call. I did not meet the 58 year old school teacher on her worst day. We did not review the films or a treatment plan. We did not discuss the risks and benefits of operative intervention. I did not drive in at 3 in the morning, half conscious, blasting the Strokes to wake the fuck up. I did not make that vertical midline incision. Nor was I there to suction out a liter of foul contamination.  I did not place those sutures to close the hole in her gut. It wasn’t my decision to place a drain under the liver. I did not speak to the husband. Or console the teary eyed daughters who’d driven in from out of town as fast as they could. I was not the one to save her life. Afterwards, I didn’t get coffee and sit by myself in a chair watching the most beautiful sunrise I'd ever seen before starting my morning rounds. I was at home all night, staring at the ceiling, self loathing, sleepless with thoughts of not having done enough.


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