Sunday, February 15, 2009

The practice

I had a referral the other day. A 14 year old boy diagnosed last January 2009 to have severe aplastic anemia. He has been in and out of the hospital in the last 2 months. His last hospitalization was a few days ago. He was directly admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit because of difficulty of breathing. Managed as a case of sepsis with pneumonia and put on several high-power antibiotics.

Then I got the call for an infectious disease consult.

The story is not about the consult. It's about how badly I felt after seeing the boy.

He's 14. And the family is not well off. I can understand and feel the burden of a serious disease and its toll not only on the family's life, but on how the young man feels.

There's a burden of hopelessness that lurks in my spirit and yet I know I need to draw strength from the greatest healer, Jesus Christ, so that I can do everything in my knowledge in the practice of medicine in providing the best care to the boy. What is most draining and depressing is the fact that I feel helpless to some degree. I am at battle with a disease on a helpless patient whose immune system seems to just look like it wants to give in.

Not everything in the field of medicine is life-saving. Half, perhaps is due to the physician who heals. The other half, today, I leave to God, the divine healer. While the boy strives with every breath left, and the family looks for means to make him survive, I am left with hope and should not give up on him. Not yet.

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