Saturday, November 2, 2013

When sorry is not good enough.

I still remember when I was 7 years old, I pushed my little brother from his bike. He fell and cried for 10 years. I mean he cried for a quite long time. My mom asked me to say sorry to him. I did say sorry but I didn't mean it at all. He deserved it because he took my  favourite story book and put it in the toilet bowl.
As an adult, we can't just simply say sorry, you have to mean it. In hospital 'sorry' is not a good word. It can be 'Sorry you are dying and nothing we can do' or 'Sorry, this is going to be a bit painful but just bare with me for a second.'

I met a patient in antenatal ward ( ward for pregnant mothers) last two week. She looked so happy and excited. I asked her if I can examine her abdomen and as I expected she was more than willing to cooperate with me. 

"Can you feel my baby?"
"Yes. His back on your left side."
"Oh really?" 
"Are you excited?"

She smiled.

"My baby was diagnosed with Edward syndrome. I wish he can stay longer in my womb."

I stopped palpating her abdomen.

"I'm so sorry."

I blamed myself for not taking her history first. I should not just go and feel her distended abdomen just because i want to practise for my exam. 'I'm sorry' here might not be enough when you know half of babies with that condition do not survive beyond one week of life.

Sometimes, sorry is not good enough but you have to mean it.

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