Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tears for Strangers

Sometimes I forget that my husband actually works on people who don't intend to cause themselves harm that day. How frustrating it must be to clean up messes that never should have been made in the first place. (Sounds like motherhood.)

Most of the time I hear about the circumstances that bring people to his operating room, some of them don't even make it to the OR, and I shake my head. How many people try to kill themselves and fail? How many people drive drunk and are in motor vehicle accidents? How many motorcyclists refuse to wear helmets? How many different types of risky behaviors are there? Lots! These are the people my husband usually sees day in and day out. It's a big trauma center, and they get the worst of the worst.

And then there are days when someone comes into his OR who shouldn't be there. They didn't do anything wrong. In fact, they did a bunch of stuff right. But, it still didn't change the fact that they aren't going to make it. While the guy who shot himself in the head will make a complete recovery. Some things don't make sense.

Like the barely teenager who is in a motor vehicle accident with his older brother and friend on their way to a church activity after having spent the morning at a community service project. A young kid who idolized his older brother and wanted to be just like him. Who was a good kid in school and had many friends, and a loving family. Parents who are about the same age as we are, who never imagined when they sent him out into the world to do a good deed in the morning, that he would be taken from them before dinner. Parents who will be burying their son. How does anyone recover from something like that?

I typically don't shed any tears for my husbands patients. Their situations are sad, but self-inflicted, and I don't think about them. However, this one had us both crying tears for complete strangers and I don't think we will ever forget.



  1. I know we are new at this game... but we had a similar situation happen about a month ago here.. a whole family. I am convinced that these situations are why our husbands are doctors. That this is why we (their families) put up with it. Because sometimes good people get hurt, and they need our men's help... unfortunately it isn't always a happy ending.

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. I know what you mean. I wanted to cry all over again the other day when I got a letter (I'm a newspaper reporter) from a hospital employee saying the hospital's employee vaccination policy violated her rights. I wanted to tell her about the patient who was born with AIDS (HIV? I'm not sure the correct term for being born with it) and died after contracting an illness at the summer camp where he worked. ): Thanks for sharing.

  3. I'm telling you, we need hardened hearts and touch stomachs for this job! And people (my family and friends) can't understand why I've become so protective over the kids and such a germaphobe!! It's because of all these horrendous stories we hear. :(


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