Wednesday, January 22, 2014
the last book I ever read (Sheri Fink's Five Days at Memorial, excerpt two)
from Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink:
The first thing, he thought, was the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Thiele was Catholic and had been influenced by a Jesuit priest, Father Harry Tompson, a mentor who had taught him how to live and treat people. Thiele had also adopted a motto he had learned in medical school: “Heal Frequently, Cure Sometimes, Comfort Always.” It seemed obvious what he had to do, robbed of almost any control of the situation except the ability to offer comfort.
This would be no ordinary comfort, not the palliative care he had learned about in a week-long course that certified him to teach the practice of relieving symptoms in patients who had decided to prioritize this goal of treatment above all others.
There were syringes and morphine and nurses in this makeshift unit on the second-floor lobby. An intensive care nurse he had known for years, Cheri Landry, the “Queen of the Night Shift”—a short, broad-faced woman of Cajun extraction who had been born at the hospital—had, he believed, brought medications down from the ICU. Thiele knew why these medications were here. He agreed with what was happening. Others didn’t. The young internist who had helped him euthanize the cat refused to take part. He told her not to worry. He and others would take care of it.