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ER Doctor Steps Outside to Mourn Young Patient in Emotional Photo

By    |   Friday, 20 March 2015 06:16 PM

An emotional photo apparently showing an ER doctor who stepped outside to grieve after the death of a teenage patient has gripped the Internet.

A Reddit user who is an EMT for an ambulance company, posted the photo online Thursday.

The image of the doctor crouched on the sidewalk, head down, holding onto a cement wall has triggered an outpouring of empathetic responses online.

"The man pictured was unable to save one of his patients," the poster wrote. "Though this is a common occurrence in our field of work, the patients we lose are typically old, sick, or some combination of the two. The patient that died was 19 years old, and for him, it was one of those calls we get sometimes that just hits you. Within a few minutes, the doctor stepped back inside, holding his head high again.”

The poster wrote that a friend had posted the photo on Facebook and he didn’t have details about the photo, including where it was taken or what happened to the teenager.

Comments on the post reflected gratitude and empathy for medical staff.

“Wow, this really hits home for me,” one user posted on Reddit, describing the unexpected death of their father: “When he died the doctors who were working on him at the UCSD medical center were crushed. I could definitely see it in their eyes. They called my house multiple times throughout the year to see how my family was doing. Doctors do not get the praise they deserve.”

Many medical staff members posted stories of their own.

“Yesterday one of my 17 month old patients died,” one doctor wrote. “I was in the bathroom crying in private between patients several times yesterday. I've cried in stairwells and hallways. It eats at you. Life is very fragile and the pain of losing those we are trying to help becomes a scar that doesn't go away. It has shaped who I am as a person.”

Dr. Sanford Koltonow, an emergency room doctor for Beaumont Health System, encourages doctors dealing with grief to reach enhance self-awareness, reach out to peers, set priorities and allow themselves space to be human, according to a blog on the health system’s website.

“This photo directly communicates of intense emotions, easily felt by nearly everyone, health care worker or not,” Koltonow said.

Twitter users commented about the image.

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An emotional photo apparently showing an ER doctor who stepped outside to grieve after the death of a teenage patient has gripped the Internet.
ER, doctor, steps, outside, mourn
Friday, 20 March 2015 06:16 PM
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