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A Piece of My Mind
February 26, 2003

The Cross-Cover Resident

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2003;289(8):956-957. doi:10.1001/jama.289.8.956

As I write this I am sad, as I am sitting in front of a sick baby. His parents block my field of vision. But even if they were not sitting right there, my eyes would not be focused on him. Watching him does not tell me what I need to know. I watch the ICU monitor that is mounted about 4 feet above the head of his open crib. Green numbers tell me that his heart is beating. Red numbers tell me that he has a blood pressure. Blue numbers tell me his pulse oximeter reading. White numbers tell me his respiratory rate. Though these numbers look fine for the moment, I know this baby is dying. His parents know he is dying. The cardiac surgeon, intensive care physician, and nurses all know he is dying.

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