Thursday, January 24, 2013

Messages From My Patients: Chapter 1

How to Pronounce a Patient ‘Dead’ July 1995
On my first rotation, a clerkship in Internal Medicine, we had a patient who was dying of breast cancer. It had advanced because she chose alternative medicine treatment instead of conventional therapy.  It was at the end. Her family had basically dumped her off onto our service to die.
She was being massaged with oils. The morphine drip was running. Spa-type music was playing as we rounded on her in the morning.
I found it strange that there was no family present for her at any time.
In the evening, the intern was called at the bedside to pronounce her dead. He asked me to come with him so I could learn.
First you look in the eyes and shine a light. There is no reaction of the pupil. Second, you listen and feel for breath. Third, you listen and feel for heartbeat. When there  are no breaths and no heartbeat, your patient is deceased.  You write a note and fill out lots of paperwork. In some cases the coroner has to be notified of this death, too.
As I was learning from him, out of the corner of my eye was my patient’s spirit trying to get my attention. “Look at me! I’m happy!” was my patient, kind of in a short skirt and top, looking fabulous and jumping up and down. I looked up at her,  thought—‘what if my intern finds out I am doing this?’—and quickly looked back down. I avoided eye contact with the spirit.  But  I felt her. She didn’t know that things like this are ‘not okay’ in medicine today.

Reiki Doc


  1. This is a wonderful story.... My sister died in Walter Reed Army Hosp. and i was by her bedside. We were keeping her comatose on morphine, but she was communicating with me through thought patterns.. I had my daughter and her children "go for coffee " as per her request, she didn't want them to watch her die. Then I made sure she was comfortable, I took her hand and then I dozed off!! lol As her spirit left she punched me in the shoulder as much to say, "Wake up"!! I'm leaving and then she said I love you. Today she's with me often, but I still miss her earthly presence.

    1. This story is wonderful! I am so glad you shared! The most important part is that those in Spirit have a good sense of humor with the living who are able to 'talk' to them. Blessings.

  2. Thrilled to see your revisiting these stories...I found myself going back to them ...each time I finding fresh inspirtation and insight! Love that Spirit gives us humor in our dark times as well as bright ones...thank you!
    Namaste Mahalo and Aloha dear friend <3

  3. I'm glad to know that after a person passes, they are happy. My mom was taking care of her former Spanish teacher/foster mom who was 99 yrs. old, in her home, where she died. I called her "Godmother". She had taken in my mom and her brother when they were kids. She came to visit her a couple of times after she passed. A few years later, my uncle, who also lived with my parents, died of throat cancer. He came to her a few times. Sat on the edge of the bed. She asked him what was he doing there. He said that he came to visit her. She's a little "antsy" about spirits so she told him that Dona Merce (the Spanish teacher) was waiting for him. He said, "Ah, let her wait. I want to visit with you!" My mom & my uncle were very close.

  4. My great grandmother-love of my life passed in the hospital. I was at the foot of the bed. Her spirit blew my hair and went straight through me, taking my breath away. Everyone in the room cried. I shed no tears. My inside was consoled completely. I was at acceptance and peace.