Today as I went in for a routine ultrasound, I overheard a patient asking the doctor to “please check again,”. The doctor in a slightly elevated voice insisted “There is no heart (or heart beat? I may have misheard) I checked many times already,” sounding a little irritated.
He then went on to insist that the baby is near the cervix explaining that the baby is on it’s way out.
The woman started crying quite loudly for me who was outside to hear.
The doctor then called in someone and said that he even asked this woman to double check but both of them didn’t find a heart (or heart beat). After a few exchange I heard the two chuckling almost giggling, yes in front of the crying woman who just lost a baby. When their session ended the woman got out sobbing loudly with tears streaming down her cheeks.
The staff were non chalant.
It’s just another day in the office after all.
It was just another patient, another nameless faceless person with a dead baby inside her tummy, no biggie. It was just another Tuesday in the hospital.
As the staff in the ultrasound room went back to their files non chalantly chatting about the ongoing construction downstairs. I felt like my heart was crushed, after seeing the woman cry over her dead baby. I wanted to hug her but I felt my feet were frozen solid to the ground. My heart was broken. She just lost her baby.
I felt her pain. I felt her disappointment. I felt her world come crashing down as they announced that the baby’s dead.
But to the staff there the baby and the woman were just another number in their list today, nothing more.
Maybe it’s because they’ve been doing this for so long and they’ve seen so much worse that this is nothing compared to other heartbreaking things they have seen and continue to see on a daily basis?
Maybe they have been trained to be so professional and unattached so they can be objective that they have grown desensitized to other people’s pain and suffering.
Maybe they’ve had a very long day, they’re tired, stressed, overwhelmed that they were just on auto pilot trying to get through the day.
But while I have family in the healthcare industry who I know are very passionate about what they do, who have so much compassion and love to give patients.
I have encountered a few others who don’t have much. I have been shamed by nurses and doctors a few times in the ER.
I have seen doctors and nurses chatting and dancing inside my mother’s room as she was dying.
Yes, as the others were trying to revive my dear mother and I was crying my eyeballs out contemplating on jumping out the glass window so I can get my mother back from the other side, there was a group of nurses chatting, giggling, laughing inside the room. I can vividly remember the resident doctor dancing (tapping hear feet to some non existent music) all while my mother was dying.
So while I do not like to generalize because I believe there are doctors and nurses who are in this field because they have so much love to give, because their hearts are overflowing with compassion, sadly, there are a few in the healthcare industry, atleast those I’ve seen who may have lost that love for others.
Who see patients just as another number. Who see a crying woman with a dead baby in her tummy just as a faceless nameless person in a list. Who see a mother dying as just another body they’re supposed to send to the morgue.
If you are a healthcare professional who have not lost that love and compassion for others, thank you. Please continue what you do. And may your heart inspire others to be the same.
If you are one of those who may have lost the love for others in their hearts please please remember that that dead baby may have been a couple’s only hope, that woman flat lining could be someone’s deeply beloved mother.
If you can’t find it in your heart to show a little more compassion, at least give us your silence at a time like this , it would be well appreciated.