An image apparently of an emergency room doctor crying after losing a patient has prompted an outpouring of sympathetic stories from medical professionals.
The image, taken from the Facebook page of an emergency medical technician and posted on the website Reddit, went viral, receiving over 4000 ‘upvotes’.
In the comments under the image medical professionals came out of the woodwork and recounted personal stories evoked by the haunting image.
“I know what that person is feeling,” said one user, boldwhite, who claimed to be a doctor. “Yesterday one of my 17 month old patients died. I was in the bathroom crying in private between patients several time yesterday. I've cried in stairwells and hallways.
“It eats at you. Life is very fragile and the pain of loosing those we are trying to help becomes a scar that doesn't go away. It has shaped who I am as a person."
Other users recounted the emotions they felt after trying to save a person’s life for hours and ultimately being unsuccessful.
“There is nothing like working on a case for hours to then have the patient die. This picture sums up my emotions and I am sure the emotions of many others working in the medical field,” said TheGreatGator.
“We are never formally trained to deal with loss and/or with giving the worst news of a families life to them.”
A nurse with six years experience, posting under the name KirinG said: “It's something that's given lip service by employers, but not really emphasized or given any thought beyond a quick 15 minute computer-based training module. It's a nasty fact that a lot of people try to ignore or sweep under the rug.”
Others questioned whether giving medical professionals more training would have any impact on how they coped with similar situations.
One user, Jacks_human, said the process of delivering bad news to a family did not get easier with time.
“No amount of training ever makes it easy to deliver this kind of bad news,” he said. “And no matter how long you have been doing it, it never gets easier. I know it sounds like a line from a movie, but it is the truth. Whether my patient is 18, or 80, I always end up leaving the room feeling awful.”
Roy_Vzla, a paramedic from Venezuela said the job ate away at many professionals’ mental health.
“We are trained to put aside our feelings so we can do what we are trained to do, I've seen people freeze at the sight of their first patient, I've seen EMT's who after graduate never go to the field, but those who do, lose a little of their soul in every case they treat, I've seen myself fade into this sombre shell of a person I am now,” he said.
Heartwarming news stories from around the world
Heartwarming news stories from around the world
A boy who saved the life of a suicidal man by simply asking him "Are you okay?” has said he did it because he likes to help people who need help. Jamie Harrington, from Ballymun, Dublin, told the Humans of Dublin project about a meeting with a man in his 30s sitting on the edge of a bridge and about to jump off it. After sitting down and speaking to the stranger for 45 minutes, 16-year-old Jamie persuaded the man to go to hospital and seek treatment
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3/30 Tattoo with a hidden message highlights the invisible battle faced by people with depression
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4/30 Teen goes to extraordinary lengths to give autistic twin the high school graduation to remember
A teenager has earned herself an army of fans after she finally reached her goal to help her severely autistic twin brother across the stage at their high school graduation. Anders Bonville, 18, from Birmingham, Alabama, was diagnosed with autism when he was two, which left him non-verbal but – along with his sister, Aly – the pair developed their own unique language and set out to alter perceptions of the condition. Aly was called first on-stage to receive her diploma. With her brother being walked quietly behind a curtained area in his wheelchair to keep him calm, she quickly exited to get him before his name was called out. Aly zoomed down the hallway with her brother in his wheelchair so that he would be happy when the big moment came. Although the principal had ordered the audience to hold all applause until the end – the moment Aly took her brother’s hand and led him across the stage – the entire hall rose to its feet and erupted into applause – including the principal herself
Benida Pillitary Bonville via Facebook
5/30 'Forrest Gump' completes 42 back-to-back marathons
A man has completed 42 back-to-back marathons – while dressed as Forrest Gump. Ewan Gordon, 42, from Oxfordshire, copied the popular film character by growing out his hair and beard to complete the 1,050-mile challenge in memory of nine-year-old Thomas Laurie who died last year. Thomas suffered from Cockayne Syndrome – a rare premature ageing disease – which is known to affect just 100 youngsters in the UK. Mr Gordon, a civil servant, ran about 26 miles each day (42km) – the equivalent of a marathon a day – for 42 days, from John O’Groats to Land’s End. He said he was inspired to adopt the quirky persona following a bet when a friend said he would sponsor Mr Gordon more money for his charity run if he did
6/30 Charity shop thanks 'true gent' who donated late wife's wedding dress with heartfelt message
A charity shop in Leeds has tracked down the elderly man who donated his late wife’s stunning 1950s wedding dress with a heartfelt note. St Gemma’s Hospice, which runs a speciality bridal shop in Garforth, described the man as a “true gent” while appealing for help finding him on social media. The stunning vintage gown has a lace bodice and sleeves and full embroidered skirt. A note attached to it read: “I wish any lady who takes this dress to have a life with her loved one 56 years like I did. Happy years. I was a lucky man to marry a lady like mine"
St Gemma's Hospice
7/30 Blood donors in Sweden get a text message whenever their blood saves someone's life
With blood donation rates in decline all over the developed world, Sweden’s blood service is enlisting new technology to help push back against shortages. One new initiative, where donors are sent automatic text messages telling them when their blood has actually been used, has caught the public eye. People who donate initially receive a 'thank you' text when they give blood, but they get another message when their blood makes it into somebody else’s veins
8/30 Guide dog jumps in front of oncoming bus to save blind owner
When Figo the service dog saw an oncoming mini school bus heading for Audrey Stone, the blind woman he was trained to guide, the golden retriever's protective instincts kicked in: He threw himself at the closest part of the vehicle he could. Police photos show the result: fur stuck to the front driver's side wheel and in the middle of Michael Neuner Avenue in New York, where the bus came to a stop after striking the pair. The driver of the Brewster school bus, carrying two kindergartners to St. Lawrence O'Toole Childhood Learning Center, told police he didn't see the pair crossing the road as they made their way home at about 8:15 Monday morning. But Figo saw the bus coming and leapt into action
9/30 Florida boy grew his hair for two years and endured bullying to donate it to charity
After more than two years growing his hair, a boy from Florida has donated his locks to charity, despite being bullied along the way. Christian McPhilamy, an eight-year-old from Florida, began growing his hair after seeing an advert about paediatric cancer and has now donated four locks, each measuring over 10 inches, to charity
10/30 A police officer who told a student his parents were killed surprised him at his graduation ceremony
Kazzie Portie’s parents, Riley and Emily, were killed by a drunk driver. Eric Ellison, an officer at the Orange Police Department in Texas, broke the news to the couple’s five children and told the youngest he’d be by his side during graduation
11/30 Cafe asks customer to leave after he tells breastfeeding mother to cover up
An Australian café has been praised for sticking up for a breastfeeding mother after a customer told her to cover up. Jessica-Anne Allen, owner of Cheese and Biscuits Café in Queensland, Australia, has described how she was approached by a male customer in the café on Thursday to complain that he was upset by a woman in the coffee shop breastfeeding her child nearby. The customer asked the café owner, 29, to tell the mother to cover up. When Mrs Allen refused to do so, he took matters into his own hands and challenged the woman himself. Staff at the café then asked the man to leave
12/30 Dog with cancer completes bucket list
When their dog was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Coco’s owners put together a ‘bucket list’ and made sure their hound experienced an exciting few weeks before she died. Before she was put down on 5 May, Coco: visited a beach; took a ride in a helicopter; went in a fire engine; ate a steak at the pub; and also had a Big Mac from a McDonalds Drive Thru, amongst other activities
13/30 Elderly cancer patient who rang 911 because he had no food is inundated with donations from well-wishers
An elderly cancer patient who called 911 because he was hungry and had no food is receiving donations from hundreds of people across America who were moved by his story. Clarence Blackmon was discharged from a private hospital in Fayetteville, in North Carolina, on Tuesday after spending months there for cancer treatment. The 81-year-old returned to his house without any supplies and anyone close by to call for help, leading him to call 911 in desperation and ask for food. An hour-and-a-half later, Marilyn Hinson, the operator who answered that call, arrived at his front door with police carrying bags full of food and made him some ham sandwiches
14/30 Son receives touching 30th birthday card from father who died in 1999
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15/30 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years so he doesn't miss class
A teenager has been hailed as “the most beautiful student in China” after spending three years giving piggy-backs to his disabled friend so that he doesn’t have to miss a class. The story of 18-year-old Xie Xu, who volunteered to look after his 19-year-old classmate Zhang Chi, has been shared widely on Chinese social media and received widespread local media coverage
16/30 Teenage Aldi worker Christian Trouesdale walkes an old man home
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17/30 8-year-old survivor of abuse writes inspirational 'thank you' letter to social workers
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18/30 Woman praised for defending Muslim woman 'harassed on train for wearing a hijab'
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19/30 Loving parents have got matching tattoos of their daughter’s huge red birthmark
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20/30 James Robertson who walked 20 miles to work every day for nine years is gifted new car
James Robertson – who was unable to afford a new car after his last one broke down nine years ago – was recently awarded more than $310,000 in donations by kind strangers who learned of his daily difficulties. Even though the money raised was meant for a new vehicle, a car dealership decided to give him a new one worth around $37,000 (around £24,000) for free in his preferred colour, red
21/30 Stranger gives Kindle to homeless man
An anonymous do-gooder has shunned praise after he gave a homeless man his Kindle. The man from San Diego, California, was visiting Las Vegas last month, when he met a homeless man named Paul, who had read the same, worn book, each time he passed. The man said he had also been down on his luck in the past, and decided to give Paul his Kindle e-reader. A moving photo showing Paul with his Kindle has been viewed over 2 million times on Imgur
22/30 Attacked pensioner Alan Barnes crowdfund passes £200,000 in donations
Pensioner Alan Barnes was mugged outside his home in Gateshead last week in an attack that left him with a broken collarbone and too scared to return to his own house. Katie Cutler, who lives nearby to Barnes, set up a crowdfunding page intending to raise £500 to help the disabled pensioner find a new home. Her efforts have led to more than £200,000 in donations being made
23/30 Man reunited with stolen dog during search for new pet
Richard Brower was “heartbroken” after his dog, a German shepherd called Dozer, was stolen from the Yard of his Alberta home, and his endless searching proved fruitless. But he had no idea that when he started searching for a new German shepherd, he would experience “the closest thing to a miracle” in his life – the Claresholm Animal Rescue Society, unbeknownst to its organisers, had Dozer safe and well, and now he’s back at home
24/30 Bart the 'zombie cat' set to make full recovery following his unlikely return from the grave
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Reuters/Humane Society of Tampa Bay
25/30 Friendship Nine's civil rights-era convictions overturned by South Carolina court
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26/30 'Humans of New York' blog raises over $1 million for Brooklyn school
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IndiGoGo/Humans of New York
27/30 Mystery man who gave heart-warming note to young mum on train to 'put a smile on her face' has been identified
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28/30 Father calls out his daughter’s racist bullies in emotional video
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29/30 This kid thought the postman should get post too
It must be kind of lonely being a mailman, all this correspondence running through your hands every day but none of it addressed to you. It must be kind of lonely being a mailman, all this correspondence running through your hands every day but none of it addressed to you
30/30 Student raises thousands of pounds for homeless man who offered her £3 for a taxi
Christmas is a traditionally a time for giving, particularly to the less fortunate members of society, but one homeless man was prepared to hand over everything he had. The man, named Robbie, offered a 22-year-old student £3 to help her get home safely after a night out - and now she is hoping to raise enough money to help him off the streets
Some users who were not yet trained medical professionals but looking to get into the profession said the responses in the discussion thread helped them understand what it was like to work in a hospital.
“As a third year medical student who wants to do emergency and as a former EMT, I want to thank you for this. I sometimes still struggle with the realization that losing patients is a part of working in medicine, especially in the ED,” said Jimbomac.
The user Smeeee summarised the feelings of many of the respondents:
“We are trained for years during residency to preserve life. We do it as much as we can, and resuscitation becomes so ingrained in us that work becomes machine-like. We empathize with our patients, yes, but we put our own emotions to the side.
“Because if we felt any swing in emotion - whether it be anger, extreme sadness, or pride - that might impair the way we care for the next patient we see.
“Patients will come and go - we will save a lot of them, but some we cannot save. And it's at this moment, this one moment, that we actually feel.”
The user who posted the original image said it had been shared by a "close friend and coworker" on Facebook.
Both he and his friend were paramedics, he said.Reuse content