We often hear patient stories – how an experience affected the individual, lessons learned, fears faced, tears shed etc. However, it is less common for us to hear physician stories. What do doctors experience? How do they feel? What fears do they have? In a recent article found in The Globe and Mail, psychiatrist David Goldbloom shares with us what it is like to lose a patient to suicide.
As I listen to Stan’s message on my voice-mail, I organize some stuff on my desk. Stan’s recorded voice sounds uncharacteristically small and hesitant. He tells me that earlier this afternoon Daryl jumped to his death from his apartment balcony.
Everything is suddenly still.
I play the message several times, listening closely for something I may have missed, but my thoughts are inexorably drawn to my meeting with Daryl two days before, seeing his wrinkled, checkered shirt, his unshaved face, his slow smile.
I sit at my desk, staring out the window, trying to think of the orderly steps of notification and documentation dictated by our policy and procedures manual. Then, in the privacy and silence of my office, I hold my head in my hands and weep.
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