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Tag: ICU

Over the Rainbow

Two days after the bus crash, I died. It was March 1996. A bus traveling at 60 mph had hit the car I was in, shattering my fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae and instantly paralyzing me from the shoulders down.

I was only twenty years old, and father to a one-year-old son. I spent the following forty-eight hours at a nearby hospital, on life support in the ICU. I couldn’t speak or breathe on my

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Lessons From My Teachers

In July 2003, a few days after I had started service as inpatient attending pediatric cardiologist at Lutheran General Children’s Hospital, the neonatologists, nurses and I met with Jenni and Tony to discuss their daughter Grace’s health status.

Grace, now two and a half weeks old, had seemed normal at birth. After a few hours, her skin color had turned blue: Her oxygen level was dangerously low. She’d been whisked off to the neonatal intensive-care

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The Man Who Holds Hearts

One spring day last year, I sat in the office of the man who was to be my husband’s heart surgeon, waiting to have one of the most important conversations of my life. My husband, Craig, sat next to me with his guide dog, Chase, at his feet.

The doctor—tall, dressed in surgical scrubs—came in, introduced himself and sat down. His eyes looked kind; his demeanor was serious.

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Living and Letting Go in the ICU

Driving from the Atlanta airport, I arrived at the hospital ICU where my mother had been admitted the day before for trouble breathing. This was the hospital where my siblings and I were born and where our father died. This was the hospital featured in The New York Times following the coronavirus outbreak in March 2020. The hospital still sees record numbers of COVID admissions, and I expected the staff to show signs of exhaustion

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Still Too Early

Still too early to know if I’m here
They put up paper snowmen in the nursing station
On white walls
The familiar dull-high pitched rhythms
Open the list. It’s always here.
Labs, settings. Sats too low.
Are numbers really people-
“She’s maxing out – full code, too.”
“Bed 27.”

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Things My Wife Left in the ICU

A pacemaker and defibrillator

Sheets pressed hard with suffering

Seven fingers and one arm, gangrenous dead

Unknown liters of blood

Failed kidneys

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In the Biodome

In the Biodome

As a pulmonary and critical-care medicine fellow, I care for patients with a broad variety of respiratory ailments. But little did I know, as I examined my patient Mr. Smith in the outpatient pulmonary clinic this past winter, that I’d see him again only months later as my first patient with COVID-19.

Mr. Smith was tough as nails. A stoic retired steelworker and former smoker, he suffered from significant emphysema, but was inclined–by nature and

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A Series of Unfortunate Events

Holland M. Kaplan ~

I’m sitting in the ICU team room, staring at the computer, trying to look like I’m writing a note. But my head is pounding.

As an internal-medicine resident doing my first month of residency, I’ve found the ICU of the bustling county hospital a jarring place to start my training. Although I’d anticipated the clinical challenge of caring for very ill ICU patients, I was unprepared for the emotional

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Linda E. Clarke

Once upon a long eighteen years ago, I got sick.

I was just finishing ten years of hospital-based ethics work, and at first I thought that the work had made me sick. I thought that the stress of hearing so many difficult stories, of witnessing so much suffering, was hurting me. I was wrong.

I was sick from a growth in my brain.

The growth was found after

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Dad Sandek

ICU Horror

Jessica Sandek

About the artist: 

A native New Yorker, Jessica has been using art as her language of expression for most of her life. She earned her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and now lives in the mountains of Southern California, where she

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Sara Rempe

The women moved through silence
like monks through a garden, all focus

and white cotton, soaping, rinsing,
lifting her body to sponge

her swollen skin. We were
there when they cleaned her

of diarrhea, sliding an arm
under her when she struggled to move

she’d groan, suck in, drop–
limbs like thin shoots


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