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A Piece of My Mind
January 23/30, 2002

The Knapsack

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2002;287(4):417-418. doi:10.1001/jama.287.4.417

The emergency medical technician brings the knapsack and gives it to the mother. This is an act of kindness. It has been hours since he brought her child to the trauma center. Many emergencies between then and now, yet he cannot forget that "job": an act of giving to the mother; an act of closure for him.

She weeps again. This is the first time she has had any part of her son back since he left for school this morning. And for now, she has to settle for what we tell her, and what we know we are not ready to say. She lets us know her time waiting while he is in surgery is unbearable. It's not exactly the waiting that makes it so hard. It's the not knowing how this will end. And, of course, she is right.

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