Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I’ve wanted to write about Haiti, but right now I’m feeling the transition back to my real life… So, sorry that’s what’s on my mind…

While I was in Haiti, I constantly was forced to make decisions based on allocation of limited resources, decisions based on the needs of group, it is not something I am used to. Alas, it is a reality there, if you have two functioning ventilators and three babies who might benefit from being ventilated a choice must be made. Those aren’t easy choices, and they tug at my soul, but I don’t question any of the choices I made. I had to trust in myself, in my training, in my skills.

Yet here we don’t have to make those choices, at least not so acutely. The other night, I was at work and confronted by the futility of so many of our patients. The dichotomy of my limitations in Haiti where I know with a few more resources, I could have saved some of those kids v, the reality of US medicine where we often go beyond what is reasonable tore at my heart.

After the night was over, I sat outside, I ate my breakfast, and I thought. U2’s lyrics played through my head. “Its not where we live that should determine if we live or die.” The problem is, I was equally torn by the kids I couldn’t save in Haiti as those I can here but for whom there is no life, no real independent life. I cried for all of them. I never cry, but alas the emotions overtook me. So, I just sat there and I cried in my coffee. I let emotion have 10 minutes then I collected myself and I went back to work. I had no choice.

I know in time I’ll sort this out. But for now, I’m going to feel this and maybe it’ll help me be a better doctor or maybe just a better person


the slackmistress said...

"I’m going to feel this and maybe it’ll help me be a better doctor or maybe just a better person."

I think it's both.


Jodi said...

You are an amazing inspiration. In spite of understanding *what* you are talking about, I pretty much keep to my unit and don't deal much with your world a few floors down. (Well, and also I'm not a doctor, so I don't have to make the gut-wrenching decisions you do). I admire you so much. Thank you for all that you do for the children of L.A. and the World!

Dr. Lisa said...

Ah, Nina and Jodi THanks!!

theletterkae said...

The fact that you do this on a daily basis is amazing.