Sumary of Life lessons: what a doctor learned from death and dying in Covid wards:
- We’re playing a song for you,” Dr Luis Seija said softly, gazing at his patient.
- “We’re playing this for you,” Dr Seija told the patient, a Latina woman in her 60s.
- On her Android, she started playing her mother’s favorite song by Marc Anthony, called Vivir Mi Vida, meaning Live My Life.
- When Dr Seija looks back on his months treating Covid-19 patients last spring at Mount Sinai hospital, in New York, these are the moments that pile up: losses that ache in the deepest parts of his body, grief that lingers like a melody he can’t get out of his head.
- When I first connected with Dr Seija, it was the fall of 2020 and I was interviewing dozens of frontline doctors about their fatigue coming out of the long, heavy period of New York City’s early Covid-19 surge for my book.
- Dr Seija was part of the Covid-19 class of medical interns, meaning that as New York’s hospitals scrambled to take in a crush of Covid patients and the city packed dead bodies into warehouse freezers, he was in his first year as a trainee.
- Dr Seija encountered this particular dilemma one afternoon, when he was assigned a new patient whose shortness of breath kept worsening.
- Dr Seija had to call the patient’s wife, introduce himself and tell her it was time to say goodbye.