One of my favorite patients died last week.
My reaction to this was not quite what you would think: I smiled. No, I didn't smile because of his death; I smiled because of his life. I smiled because I got to be a part of that life. His death wasn't his tragic end, it was the exclamation point to his life.
I am around a lot of death -- it's one of the things that makes being a doctor different from other jobs. My goal with all of my patients is to keep them healthy, to relieve their pain, and to do my best to keep them alive. Ultimately, though, it's a losing battle; 100% of them will eventually die. That's why I don't like statistics about how many people who die due to inadequate doctoring. Our job is to resist an irresistible force. We are standing up to the hurricane, the avalanche, the flood.