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Poetry and Medicine
August 14, 2018

Transmission

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of Illinois College of Medicine, Rockford
JAMA. 2018;320(6):606. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.2646

In that place,
at that time
I stopped death.
I don’t know if I saved a life.
That is a different question.
I did stop the hemorrhage
—sealed the leak, repaired the bowel, drained the abscess,
relieved the pressure, opened the obstruction, restored the flow.
What was done, was clearly and demonstrably done.
But was the life restored?
With what alteration of intended course?
Bearing what scars?
Carrying what memories?
And what was exchanged, implanted?
Carried forward forever.

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