Piper was the first and the only patient in nearly 20 years of practice for whom I have signed the birth certificate and the death certificate. 100 years ago, country doctors did that sort of thing frequently, but today, it is rare. It remains one of the hardest things I have ever done as a physician.
Gun violence has become a public health epidemic. Despite countless deaths in mass shootings over the last 2 decades, the Dickey Amendment—a provision inserted into the 1996 spending bill which blocked federal funding for research on gun violence—remains on the books. While every politician, media pundit, and policy expert “know” the solution, the answers are not that simple.
As a pediatrician, watching enforcement of “zero tolerance” on children at our southern border has broken my heart. Every child needs safety and a sense of belonging. It defines who they are and shapes their perception of the world. For a young child, the loss of a parent is so devastating there can be no repair, only salvage of the wreckage.
I often wonder who has been the greatest blessing to whom. A physician bears witness to the direct impact we have on the lives of other human beings. What a rare treasure to behold! As physicians, our journey is riddled with successes and failures. Yet, my love and dedication to this noble and rewarding profession is instantaneously revitalized when a young person wanders into my office and reminds me of a time when we overcame such insurmountable odds together.
Throughout our careers, we are privileged to share in the overwhelming joy of others, yet bear witness to much human suffering that leaves scars on our souls. I wish these parents knew how deeply their son touched us all in the NICU that day. Rainbows are not just a collection of colors as we look out upon the horizon; they are promises for our hearts.
My heart goes out to the families who lost their beautiful sons. Most of you know my older sister drowned in the waters off Brownsville in June 1975; so this issue is near and dear to my heart. Both young men accidentally slipped and were dragged into fast moving water, known in statistics as ‘unintentional drowning.’
She is completely healthy and thriving, yet has contracted the influenza A virus, which is a serious threat to her well-being. Her mom, who also has influenza, said “I have never been more sick in my entire life.” That pretty much sums up the entire Influenza A experience.
According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, a child dies every two weeks in this country from a tip over incident involving a TV, a piece of furniture, or a combination of the two. Every 24 minutes a child is admitted to the emergency room because of a TV or a furniture tip over.
How did he let her go? Does he not know we cut patients open and save lives? The shock wore off slowly and then a week later, we reviewed the autopsy report. It provided a remarkable lesson never to be forgotten. Somehow, her father knew better than the healthcare team, what was best for his child. I was not ready, yet he was prepared to let her go and made the right decision.