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Poems & Stories from the ED


Two boys

One eleven, the other fourteen

The older one is my patient.  (So is his mom.)

But the younger one draws my attention.

Bloodshot eyes, a furrowed brow.

He looks more troubled than his battered brother.

But I’m drawn into my work: the history, the exam,

There was a fight, a bad one, but the younger brother wasn’t involved.

I convince the mom that a CT-scan isn’t necessary.

“It’s safer to watch him at home and return if worse”

We’re done, but for the brother’s eyes.

“Was  he crying?” I ask.

“Yes,” the mother replies, “He was afraid for his big brother.”

In the end, it is my eyes that are teary.


I can’t remember the last time I cried at work.   We see death and loss all the time in the ED.  I guess I am used to it.  But something about that younger brother’s degree of sympathy or fear or both definitely struck a cord.  Please share a poem inspired by your own experience or brief story of your own below.

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