At 2 o’clock in the morning, as the situation went from bad to worse, I stepped away from the bedside to call the parents.
Looking back, I knew the prognosis for the 6-month-old girl born with a severe congenital heart defect had never been good. Shortly after birth, her lungs had gotten very sick. Her condition had deteriorated gradually, every day being either no better or perhaps a bit poorer than the day before.
But in the way that incremental bad news can accumulate yet go unacknowledged—that is how we came to 2 o’clock in the morning and the sudden realization that an inevitable crisis had been unfolding slowly for weeks on end.
Feudtner C. Love at the End of the Beginning of Life. JAMA. 2015;314(10):1001-1002. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.5944