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I Might Be Okay FREE TO VIEW

William French, MA, RRT
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Editor’s Note: William French is a respiratory therapist. He writes, “As a clinician, I have participated in many futile situations and had conversations with family members and other clinicians who were desperate for hope when the situation was truly hopeless. I tried to imagine this from the patient’s point of view. Perhaps this will prompt we health-care professionals to consider the implications of what we do.”

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.

Chest. 2015;147(3):862. doi:10.1378/chest.14-2084
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Published online

I might be okay.
I might even be okay again,
when the heroes arrive,
wearing sincerity on their
starched white sleeves and
dispensing courage in place
of drugs that never seem to
work anyway. It’s all
a matter of perspective, says
the artist, gazing at the ceiling
as empty and white and
sterile as an unblemished
canvas ready for the first
vibrant swirls of color or
viewing jagged shards of
pain in the reflecting pool
that is life unlived.
All that remains is reassurance,
a seemingly abundant commodity
for which there is no billing code.
It gushes like tap water through
the lips of the well-meaning, who
know full well there is no medical
term for certainty and no medical
cure for certain death.




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