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A Piece of My Mind
March 17, 2015

Time Will Tell

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, St Louis Children’s Hospital, St Louis, Missouri
JAMA. 2015;313(11):1107-1108. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.0837

The sac was empty on the ultrasound screen. There was no heartbeat, no recognizable shape, just an empty black space. After saving the image, the ultrasonographer continued with her measurements in silence. I put my hand on my wife’s shoulder, watching her hold back the tears. I was thankful that we had not told anyone we were expecting.

“Maybe we are just a little bit early,” said the ultrasonographer as she walked out of the room, forcing a smile.

As a physician, I knew better. I knew that it was almost certainly a miscarriage. I knew that my wife’s medical chart would be permanently tattooed with that ugly terminology: spontaneous abortion.

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