Do you cry, doctor?


When that patient you were desperately trying to save dies, do you cry? When that patient who came in on the verge of suicide and started smiling thanks to you dies, do you cry?

If you do, please be my doctor.

It matters to me that there is something warm and human underneath the cold layers of professionalism. That’s important and rare.

I have seen doctors who cut up a patient one piece after another and assure “all is good and cured” after every cut. Then there are those who wring out everything that is worth living for before a “sorry, nothing more”.

Today, I saw this doctor who was on his knees, crying, holding onto a wall for support. Minutes earlier, he had lost his 19-year old patient in the ER. Minutes later, he was back in the ER, “holding his head high.”

And this gem, from the many responses that post evoked, gives us a peep into the mind of that doctor, every doctor, who cries:

“And in the end, when the life went out of him and my hands could work no more, I left from that place into the night and wept — for myself, for life, for the tragedy of death’s coming. Then I rose, and walking back to the suffering-house forgot again my own wounds for the sake of healing theirs.”


6 thoughts on “Do you cry, doctor?”

  1. Thanks for this very touching post, Vijay. Indeed, a doctor is still a human being, the white coat simply an exterior, dispensable shell. Yes, indeed, the kind of doctor I would like to go to must be the one you describe here.

    Take care!

  2. Thank you Sir, for this post. Doctors are not born insensitive, they become so. I recall a young pediatrician once telling me, the first time a child in her care died, she wept the whole night. She pulled herself together, saying that this was an emotion she did not afford. We, the patients, would prefer doctors who weep at every tragedy, but will they be able to maintain their sanity if they do not distance themselves from these daily tragedies, Doctors are also human, an onco surgeon once confessed he wanted to do an appendectomy, he explained that he too wanted to see his patents alive after some time.

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