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What is the best way to cope with potential deaths of medical patients?

I am going to be a physician's assistant and I plan to work in pediatrics. I want to know coping methods people in the medical profession have to cope with deaths of patients. #medicine #physician-assistant #students-interested-in-career-as-physician-assistants #death #copingmethods #patients #working-with-children #pediatrics

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Vickey’s Answer

There is no easy answer for this. I too am a physician assistant. I did not work in pediatrics, which I am entirely grateful for. I have seen many deaths, some old, some not. You handle it the way you feel like it. Want to go into the bathroom and cry. Go ahead. Need to talk about it? Other people will want that too. Go to the chapel if you want. As time passes and you are more exposed to it, you build like an emotional shield. I did. You process it, remember there are other people more devastated than yourself, and you help them.

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Daniela’s Answer

Hi, Gabriella

The emotional toll on a surgeon or physician after the loss of a patient is an experience rarely spoken about freely. Perhaps the one exception is during the mandatory review at morbidity and mortality conference. We are often not prepared on how to deal with this experience. There is no grief counseling after the fact and sometimes no time to reflect on the depth of its impact. How one deals with a patients’ expected or unexpected passing is based on their perspective on life, the circumstances, and of course likely the manner in which they learned as trainees.</span>

Source: www.aasurg.org/blog/how-to-cope-with-the-death-of-a-patient/

Daniela recommends the following next steps:

Seek professional help – If a case troubles deeply you might need to discuss the case with a grief specialist. An unexpected outcome can lead to post traumatic stress. Know you are not alone even if this result is not openly discussed.
Be there for the family – This is the most important recommendation. No matter how you are feeling (or not) they have lost a loved one. Even if it was expected it remains devastating. Show empathy, be truthful and be available.
Seek the support of your family/friends – However challenging the whirlwind of emotions you might face, remember your commitment to saving lives. You contributions to society are important. Mourn and seek comfort. Then return to doing what you do best.
Reach out to a colleague that has lost a patient – a kind word and advice will undoubtedly help.
Prepare your patients – Death unfortunately will occur. Be mindful in setting expectations in the preoperative setting especially for challenging cases.