Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.
I am balancing a chicken salad sandwich, a package of strawberry Twizzlers,
and a bowl of fruit cocktail—delivering lunch exactly as ordered to
my friend Richard. Just four days ago, in an 11-hour operation, Richard received
a transplanted liver. He stands now in the hospital lobby, bundled into his
bathrobe and leaning precariously against a loaded IV pole. I start to visualize
microbes coasting darkly toward him through the revolving door 10 feet away.
He is negotiating with two women in striped aprons at the front desk, requesting
a private room, calmly reaching over the counter to collect one of their cards
"so that I can call, if I don't hear from you before I need to make other
plans." And I am ashamed, for I am the one who has too easily given in to
his demand that we leave the surgical ward for lunch.
Jacobson J. After the Miracle. JAMA. 1998;279(12):906. doi:10.1001/jama.279.12.906