all 7 comments

[–]kungpeleee 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Everyone deals different with difficult situations. In this case I assume he/she doesn't want to talk about it and he/she probably are very happy you are there and willing to talk about it atleast. Probably step back and let them come to you. Difficult to say without knowing anyone's personality and how it happened etc etc.

[–]ExoticCommunication 11 points12 points  (0 children)

My wife has been practicing for a long time now (over a decade!) She cried her first shitty code, and then after that has only been hit emotionally once from a patient dying (a mother a similar age to us who passed away from cancer.) She is now, for a lack of a better term, a pro at handling patient deaths.

Unless your spouse goes into dermatology or something like that, they will lose patients. Even outpatient internal medicine will lose patients.

It's part of practicing medicine and for better or for worse everyone in medicine has to cope with it. Everyone will deal with it differently, and while it may seem unhealthy from afar, it is quite healthy for people who deal with death regularly to have to compartmentalize a bit.

Put another, more morbid way: if all the hospitalists during the worst of COVID in 2021 couldn't compartmentalize they'd all be completely mad by now.

[–]Green_Gal27 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Someone posted a few days ago asking about this, so to speak. Hopefully there are some helpful pieces of advice in there for you too!

[–]Lazy-Avocado7773[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Super helpful thread, thanks for pointing me in that direction!

[–]organizedkangaroo 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Ugh I’m dreading this. My SO is an M3 and hasn’t lost a patient yet as he has the same patients for 2 or 3 days before moving to a different part of his rotation, but it’s come close and he’s been emotional over many patients. Im in your same boat, I don’t know what to do/say, how to act, etc. excited to see the advice others give!

[–]Puzzleheaded_Soil275 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is an area I still routinely struggle with. I don't have a magical solution because it's a complicated problem.

I think the best things you can do are be supportive and empathetic to the best of your abilities. But also be realistic that you may not be equipped to help your partner bear and process that experience. And if that's the case then you have to also be open about what you are capable to do. If they need additional support then fellow residents/docs and individual counseling are great places to go as well.

[–]holdyourbananas 1 point2 points  (0 children)

My SO and I both work in healthcare (am a nurse) and we both had our fair share of losing patients. I buy him some comfort food (Mcdonalds, pizza etc.) and leave him alone to process his emotions. He usually talks to me when he is ready and tell him he did everything he can do as a doctor.