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A Piece of My Mind
October 19, 2011

Do You Still Feel It?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, National University Hospital, Singapore (jason_phua@nuhs.edu.sg).

JAMA. 2011;306(15):1632-1633. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1472

He looked me right in the eye and asked, “You doctors don't feel it anymore, do you?” There were ten other people in the room. They were grieving for their loved one, who had just died of severe sepsis. They needed answers as to why she died. They needed closure. I was taken aback by the question posed by the patient's brother. Do we physicians still feel pain when we lose a patient? I have practiced critical care medicine for close to ten years, and this was the first time a relative had asked me this.