Thursday, November 11, 2010

We Are But Human

I found out today that my first patient passed away on Sunday. It was to meet this patient that I first put on my new, starched white coat, walked into the halls and wards of the hospital unquestioned, and had the privilege of asking all sorts of personal and private questions in order to write up my patient's detailed life history. He was only a few years older than me.

What struck me most was how full of life and hope my patient had been. In our modern day and age, living a normal life despite having HIV is something we take for granted. Almost. At least at the pharmaceutical company where I worked - the company where the "miracle" cocktail formula for HIV antiretrovirals was basically developed - all of us knew that there's no reason to die from HIV anymore. That is, if you had the medical care necessary, there's no reason to die.

An excerpt from the life history I wrote up - this was what ended up bringing me to tears when Mr. W's doctor mentioned this: When asked about the future, Mr. W says he wants to get out of the hospital, finish of school, and live a long and healthy life. He repeatedly mentions that he wants to live a long and healthy life, and perhaps get involved with HIV education.


  1. Oh my god. I'm so sorry. I can't believe this happened... so soon, and he was so young! What's going to happen now? Are you getting reassigned?

  2. i know! it's tragic. i'm not sure what's happening now, but i think they're giving us some time to process this first. he was our second LCE patient too. we haven't talked about what we're doing moving on yet...