patient care; death; withholding treatment; grief; hospice care; poetry; medical humanities


Medical Humanities | Medicine and Health Sciences


This poem is a reflection upon my personal experience of taking care of a young patient with post-partum sepsis and multi-organ failure following the delivery of her second child. She was able to spend one night at home with her family before suddenly decompensating and becoming encephalopathic. In her last moments awake, she relayed to the EMS her wishes of being placed in hospice. The poem narrates her spouse’s internal struggle after respecting the patient’s wishes of withdrawal of care.