Jimmy’s mother cries in the corner. She holds her hands up and open, the way you might receive a baby. Or, the way you indicate helplessness when your baby is now addicted to heroin and shivering in a hospital bed.
Jimmy’s heart is failing. Antibiotics alone will fail him. Soon a surgeon will open Jimmy’s chest, cut out his heart valve, and sew in a new one. I say this as gently as I can.
Standing with a medical student beside me, I try to teach about the physical exam. About compassion. About how to respond when a young man who hasn't opened his eyes for minutes suddenly does, and says something frightening.
Check out my new essay at ReflectMedEd for more.