I put on my isolation gown, knocked on his hospital room door, and entered to initiate the family meeting. I had been dreading this meeting all morning. It is never easy telling the loved ones of a thirty-seven year old that his disease is terminal, and he is actively dying.
I greeted Mr. M, his girlfriend and sister with the help of a Spanish translator. He smiled and had a twinkle in his jaundiced eyes. He was debilitated, bed bound with anasarca, his right thigh tightly bound by multiple blood stained pressure dressings. "Hola", I greeted them with the little Spanish I knew. Mr. M had end stage liver disease, causing uncontrolled coagulopathy that led to the bleeding from his right thigh hematoma. His family had a limited understanding of his condition. They were not fully aware that he was actively dying.
Wang, MD, Shuwei
"A Difficult Conversation,"
The Medicine Forum:
Vol. 17, Article 23.
Available at: http://jdc.jefferson.edu/tmf/vol17/iss1/23