Death and Dying


When I first entered the SHPM at the third floor of OPD, I really do not know what the word hospice means when used with the term palliative medicine. Which is which? I then realized that hospice can be palliative but palliative medicine cannot be hospice because those patients dying in six months or less can be palliated with their symptoms, but those who are not yet dying cannot, or should not, be given hospice care.

                When I was still in the other rotations, I sometimes ask those in the Hospice rotation regarding what it is. Maybe, I just want to prepare myself because my lacrimal glands are very sensitive to scenes of bereaving families in the wards. Most people say that I have a strong personality because of my appearance and stance. However, they do not know that I am very sensitive especially when someone is crying in a funeral. The last time that I almost cried, in fact, my voice was already in the verge of crying, was when I was in front of my Pedia patient already pronounced brain dead by the RIC. The parents suddenly cried and started with their lamentations while the youngest sibling of the patient was innocently looking at his sister. That whole scene made me think that I cannot bear it anymore. That was my first time to have a mortality as SIC and I cannot already look at the face of everyone in the periphery because my eyes are already glossy with tears. After some time of trying to fight the feeling, I went to the call room and tried to control myself. That time, I was convincing myself not to cry because how can I be a doctor when every disclosure or some similar scenes would make me cry. Crying is a human nature, but I think, crying in the wrong situation, affects the professionalism especially in a doctor. It then became a challenge for me in this rotation, but I know I really have to conquer this sensitivity because as death is inevitable, I have to be seen, even if externally only, as a strong steward of the patient and the patient’s relatives’ sake.

                I want to conclude my rotation with what I thought of during the past two weeks: that every doctor should know how to palliate terminal symptoms and provide hospice care especially when the Hospice service is not offered in his or her particular hospital. As I have mentioned, death is inevitable, so hospice and palliative care should be given rightfully.


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