|Image Credit: Common Sense|
Originally published: Common Sense January/February 2019
Very few jobs, let alone, medical specialties have the potential to encounter death on a daily basis. With this comes responsibility, honor, reward, pride, but also despair, death, and failure. Politics and biases aside, as clinicians, it is engrained early in our training that we are present to aid, cure, educate, and comfort the patient. The patient is the focus of everything, patient satisfaction, outcomes, money, litigation, politics, and this is so true when we as a health care team almost save a life. Imagine Billy, a 12 year old boy riding his bicycle on a sidewalk and is struck by a drunk driver. EMS arrives and finds a child as a GCS 3. Intubated and sent to local ED, where thorough radiographic imaging demonstrates diffuse axonal injury, possible cervical spine injury, bilateral hemopneumothoraces, etc., and clinically has experienced a nonsurvivable event. After being admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit, and after numerous consultations with subspecialists, the parents do the most heroic thing of all and consent to organ donation.