Art of Caring
Personal Reflection of a Palliative Care Physician
Pooja Baijal, MD
Prior to rounding in the intensive care unit (ICU), I would pause outside the double doors for a couple of seconds, gathering all my strength for another challenging day. I knew this time that it was not just "regular" end-of-life conversations with our older and frail patients or those with serious underlying disease states, but also heart-wrenching conversations with young adults who had been leading normal, functional lives. Some days, as I went from one room to the next, I would realize that we were consulted on most of the ICU, and I would try to prioritize who was sickest and carried the highest risk of dying.