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A Piece of My Mind
October 16, 2013

The Warmth

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence
JAMA. 2013;310(15):1565-1566. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.277425

“Why didn’t you do oncology? Mom says you almost chose it.”

“One of my patients,” Dad texted. “29. Cute. Funny. AML. She died while I was covering her.”

“It’s here,” the nurse says. She calls it with a warm, sweet voice, a relief, as if announcing a sun shower passing through. She says the words, unassuming and simple and pregnant with meaning, and I feel the warmth instantly. It comes over me like a fever with chills. It fills me, then rolls along the hallways of 8A, permeates the cotton linens, drapes over the tired shoulders of overnight nurses. Morning light fills the hospital floor and a euphoria comes over me, something I haven’t felt since my first delivery as a medical student. Something beautiful is going on and I am about to see it.