“A 65 year old man experienced crushing substernal chest pain, was found to have suffered a myocardial infarction and expired.  The most likely pathogenesis for this…”

Excuse me? He expired? Like milk? Like that slab of steak in the back of the fridge? I guess we all are hunks of meat.  We have a shelf life that maxes out at about 100 years.  A baby born today – “best used by 2110.”

He expired.  I remember that time when the patient I enrolled in our observational study died.  Her lab values were out of wack and I totally missed that little word at the top left of the screen, “expired.” I wouldn’t have known what it meant.  Maybe, “oh, the records expired, no wonder the labs don’t make sense.”  The patient expired.  No, this child died.  She had parents, maybe siblings, friends, people who loved her. 

He expired.  They’re asking me to identify the pathogenesis… what about his family? Did he have children, a spouse, a dog?  How many more questions will I have to read like this in order to learn? How many more expired persons will I need to brush past*?  

*Apparently lots more. I wrote this in August and I've already become desensitized to this kind of language.  Oh, look, there goes that empathy med students loose between 1st and 3rd year.

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